SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto made sure that his 100th career victory was 100 percent his.Cueto dominated the Giants' 1-0 victory Tuesday over the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park, from striking out the side in the third and seventh innings to pitching out of jams in the first, fourth
SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto made sure that his 100th career victory was 100 percent his.
Cueto dominated the Giants' 1-0 victory Tuesday over the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park, from striking out the side in the third and seventh innings to pitching out of jams in the first, fourth and fifth.
"He's like an artist out there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Virtually the game's lone facet that Cueto didn't provide was offense, but he seized upon the Giants' fifth-inning run by using it as motivation.
"After that I was a little more aggressive," Cueto said through a translator. "That's what you always want when your team scores a run."
One run sufficed for Cueto, who struck out 11 in his seventh career shutout. The right-hander became the 21st active pitcher to win 100 games and the fourth-youngest. Only Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Yovani Gallardo are younger. This combination of accomplishment and youth largely explained why the Giants signed Cueto to a six-year, $130 million contract last offseason.
Cueto also becamed the 12th Dominican-born pitcher to reach triple digits in wins, a list topped by Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
"It's a special number for a pitcher -- 100, 200," Cueto said. "As a pitcher, you always want to win as much as you can."
Cueto triumphed with a typical performance. He has worked at least seven innings in each of his starts. The Giants' bullpen appreciates his durability. Cory Gearrin warmed up briefly in the seventh inning and closer Santiago Casilla loosened up in the ninth, but there was no need for either reliever. Cueto's mastery of the two-hour, 28-minute affair at AT&T Park was supplemented by Jon Jay's double-play grounder that he coaxed in the fifth inning (a replay review was needed to confirm the out ruling at first base) and by the pair of stolen-base attempts that catcher Buster Posey foiled with strong throws in the fourth and eighth innings.
Having gained sincere admiration for Cueto's work, Posey was all too happy to contribute to his teammate's milestone.
"In the short stint when I've been catching him, he's one of the best I've seen at reading hitters' swings and knowing what the next pitch should be," said Posey, who marveled at the knack he has developed with Cueto for "thinking along together out there. I don't think you can get a feeling for that until you work with the guy."
Moreover, Posey pointed out, performing alongside Cueto is far from all work.
"He makes it fun," Posey said of the 30-year-old who wears dreadlocks and employs at least a half-dozen different deliveries on the mound. "He kind of plays the game like a kid. ... It's like he's playing backyard baseball. You can tell that he enjoys his job, which is great."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.