SAN FRANCISCO -- Continuing to blossom in May, the San Francisco Giants received an all-around effort from Matt Cain as they evened their three-game showdown against the Chicago Cubs with a 5-3 triumph Saturday.
The Giants, whose .700 winning percentage (14-6) is the best in the Major Leagues this month, relied heavily on Cain (1-5). The right-hander yielded Kris Bryant's solo homer among six hits in six innings to gain his first victory since July 22. Since then, he had posted an 0-8 mark and a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts. Cain also hit a two-run, second-inning double off Jon Lester (4-3), who lasted just 2 2/3 innings and became the first Cubs starter to fall short of completing five innings this season.
"A lot of hard-hit balls, a lot of bad locations," Lester said. "I couldn't put guys away. Just a lot of bad situations. I'm most frustrated as far as not getting the ball where I wanted."
Javier Baez's RBI single sustained an eighth-inning rally in which the Cubs brought the potential tying run to the plate. But Giants left-hander Javier Lopez extinguished the threat by striking out pinch-hitter Tim Federowicz. Santiago Casilla surrendered Dexter Fowler's leadoff homer in the ninth before retiring the next three hitters for his 11th save.
"Dex starts off the ninth with the home run and put us in a good spot," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "Unfortunately we couldn't get it done."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Posey parks one: After coming about three feet short of hitting a three-run homer Friday, Buster Posey left nothing to chance in Saturday's third inning, clearing the left-field barrier with plenty to spare to record his fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot. Before that, Posey had recorded just one hit in his previous 25 at-bats at AT&T Park. He also hadn't homered since May 1, going 62 at-bats without a long ball.
"Honestly, I've gone through stretches where I think it kind of nagged at me more than this one has. It definitely helps when you're winning ballgames," Posey said after the Giants secured their ninth victory in 10 games.
Chicago's infield was drawn in for Posey. He wasn't distracted.
"In that situation, as much as anything, you just want to hit the ball hard," he said. "I feel like the odds are usually pretty good if you hit the ball hard with the infield drawn in."
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Cahill holds the line: Right-hander Trevor Cahill was called upon to douse the fire following the Giants' three-run outburst in the third. He got the job done, giving up one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Lopez restores order: Lefty specialist Lopez knew he wouldn't function as a lefty specialist. Summoned in the eighth inning with two on and two outs after Miguel Montero was announced as a pinch-hitter, Lopez figured the Cubs would replace the left-handed-batting Montero with a right-handed swinger -- in this case, Federowicz. It took Lopez five pitches to strike out Federowicz.
Lopez affirmed that pulling even in this series against the Cubs, who own the Majors' best record, meant something to the Giants.
"You want to prove yourself against the best, and they're the best right now," Lopez said. "There's a lot of passion in these outs."
Baez breaks through: Baez ended an 0-for-18 streak with his RBI single in the eighth. At the time, the hit fueled the possibility of another Cubs rally.
"I can live with the Poseys of the world hitting home runs. I can't allow myself to go full [count] on the pitcher and let him do some damage. Obviously that's not good." -- Lester on Cain's two-run double in the second inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his double, Cain ended a hitless streak of 46 at-bats, longest in the National League. Not only did he victimize the formidable Lester, but his previous hit before Saturday came off Zack Greinke, and his last extra-base hit was a homer off Cole Hamels.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
Giants catcher Trevor Brown singled into left field, scoring Matt Duffy from second base, with one out in the third inning. Brown slid into second base on the play and was ruled safe, seemingly avoiding the tag. The Cubs challenged the ruling on the field. After a review, the call was overturned, resulting in the second out of the inning. It was the Cubs' 12th challenge of the season and the fifth they have won.
Cubs: Right-hander Kyle Hendricks starts Sunday night's series finale, which begins at 7:05 p.m. CT. He's coming off a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in his last start, giving up four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Hendricks is 1-1 in two starts against the Giants.
Giants:Madison Bumgarner, whose presence on the mound has guaranteed success for the Giants lately, will start Sunday's 5:05 p.m. PT series finale at AT&T Park. San Francisco has won each of Bumgarner's last five starts, including his complete-game effort last Tuesday at San Diego.
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