Cain outduels Hamels; A’s cruise
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – For a closer, Brian Wilson’s opening statement was pitch perfect: The World Series champion San Francisco Giants are already a great team.
“But you know,” Wilson added, “having a guy like Beltran, obviously, adds a lot of positive energy.”
Carlos Beltran adds a big bat, too.
Matt Cain pitched into the eighth inning to outduel Cole Hamels and lead the Giants to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.
The NL West-leading Giants won for the third time in four games, and help is on the way. The defending champions acquired the All-Star New York Mets outfielder when he accepted a trade after the teams worked out the framework of a deal.
Without Beltran, the Giants scratched out two runs to deny Hamels (12-6) his NL-best 13th win.
Beltran is expected to join the Giants in Philadelphia in time for Thursday night’s game against the Phillies.
San Francisco also could have Tim Lincecum back on the mound for the series finale Thursday. The floppy-haired ace was scratched from his start Tuesday because of an illness, but manager Bruce Bochy was hopeful he would start the finale.
With Lincecum out, Cain (9-6) had his start moved up a day and again quieted Philadelphia’s bats. Cain pitched seven shutout innings and beat Hamels in Game 3 of last year’s NL championship series. The Giants beat the Phillies in the NLCS and this three-game series was billed as a sneak peek for another potential October showdown.
“That is some of the best stuff he had,” Bochy said.
Each team has won a game, but the Beltran deal could help keep the pennant on the West Coast.
“We’re not an offensive team,” Bochy said.
They acquired a nice piece toward becoming one.
The Mets would get pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler, who is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts for San Francisco’s high Class-A affiliate in San Jose. The Giants selected Wheeler with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy called Beltran, “one of the elite players of the game.”
The Giants entered batting only .241 with 66 homers and 371 runs scored, all numbers that rank toward the bottom of the NL. Beltran is batting .289 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs. Asked where Beltran would play in the outfield, Bochy laughed and refused to specifically discuss the trade.
Cain allowed an unearned run and four hits before he was yanked when pinch-hitter Ross Gload reached on catcher’s interference leading off the eighth. Javier Lopez got three outs and Wilson finished for his league-leading 32nd save and a combined four-hitter. The Giants have won 12 of 17.
A’s pound Shields, Rays
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Hideki Matsui and Ryan Sweeney both homered as part of a nine-run fourth inning and the suddenly resurgent Oakland Athletics beat the Tampa Bay Rays 13-4 on Wednesday night.
Matsui was 3 for 5 with five RBIs, Jemile Weeks had three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored, and Scott Sizemore added two hits and two RBIs to lead the A’s to their third straight win over the Rays.
Trevor Cahill went 7 1-3 innings with six strikeouts for his first win in more than a month, benefiting from Oakland’s best offensive output of the season.
The Rays, who broke one of baseball’s oldest records when they played their 705th consecutive game with a starting pitcher younger than 30 years old, lost for the 11th time in 15 games and dropped a season-high 11 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
Every Oakland starter had at least one hit while seven scored.
The A’s had a season-high 17 hits. Sweeney had three hits and scored twice – both times in the fourth when Oakland broke the game open.
Conor Jackson also scored twice in the inning when the A’s, who lead the majors in batting since the All-Star break, sent 12 men to the plate in the inning to chase starter James Shields (9-9).
Matsui, who went 5 for 5 in a 7-5 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, hit an RBI double in the third, homered in the fourth and had a run-scoring single in the fifth.