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Cain's resurgence continues vs. Padres

Giants right-hander goes 5 strong frames, no issues with hamstring
Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- On a night when another implosion by the bullpen left Bruce Bochy grimacing following Saturday's 12-4 loss to the San Diego Padres, starter Matt Cain was able to make the Giants skipper smile with one of his strongest outings of the season.

Following up on a stellar start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cain looked a lot like the pitcher who won 55 games from 2009-2012 instead of one who has struggled to stay healthy while notching only 18 victories since then. He allowed one run over five innings, had a season-high seven strikeouts and didn't walk a batter for the first time this season.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- On a night when another implosion by the bullpen left Bruce Bochy grimacing following Saturday's 12-4 loss to the San Diego Padres, starter Matt Cain was able to make the Giants skipper smile with one of his strongest outings of the season.

Following up on a stellar start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cain looked a lot like the pitcher who won 55 games from 2009-2012 instead of one who has struggled to stay healthy while notching only 18 victories since then. He allowed one run over five innings, had a season-high seven strikeouts and didn't walk a batter for the first time this season.

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"He really has just done a great job of bouncing back from last year and this spring," Bochy said of his former ace. "He's worked hard and he's doing some good things out there. Commanding the ball, changing speeds on his breaking ball, good changeup. Really just throwing quality strikes and that's a good thing to see."

Three of the six hits given up by Cain came in the fourth inning when San Diego scored its lone run off the right-hander. Things could have been worse but second baseman Joe Panik threw home to catch a sliding Austin Hedges trying to score from third as part of a double-steal attempt.

Video: SD@SF: Panik, Posey catch Hedges stealing home

It was in stark contrast to how Cain fared when he faced the Padres the first time this season. San Diego knocked Cain out of his April 7 start after scoring four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

More importantly for the Giants, Cain showed no lingering effects from the hamstring issue that forced him out of his most recent start against Los Angeles.

"No issues with that, so that was good," Cain said.

Since taking a no-decision against the Padres in his 2017 debut, Cain has been one of the Giants' most consistent starters. He's 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his last four starts and has allowed only three runs in his previous 23 innings.

For a team that will be without Madison Bumgarner until possibly after the All-Star break, Cain's recent stretch has been a welcomed sight.

It's also a bit of justification for a 32-year-old pitcher who once hurled a perfect game before his career got off track.

"I just wanted to keep being able to put stretches together, and that's what I still want to do," Cain said. "I still want to be able to go out there and know that every fifth day this is what you're going to get. That's something I try to keep in my mind. Don't ever get ahead of yourself because the game can be really humbling."

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Giants on Saturday.

San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain