Rewind: Rockies vs. Giants, Game #3

Following a tough one-run loss Wednesday, the Giants bounced back with a 5-0 victory Thursday, thanks in large part to Matt Cain's brilliant performance. Over the last month, he's been baseball's best starter and has thrown his name into the Rookie of the Year race while helping the Giants get into a race they never thought possible a month ago.

The Rockies had no answer to Matt Cain on Thursday, when the rookie hurler threw eight shut out innings of two-hit baseball to win his fourth straight start. Vinnie Chulk completed the shutout, and Moises Alou added two RBI, as the Giants blanked Colorado 5-0 to take two out of three games in the series and move San Francisco within 3 games of the NL West and 2 1/2 games of the wild card lead.

The game was a pitchers duel through the first five frames, as it was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Moises Alou knocked in the game's first run off Colorado starter Aaron Cook by grounding into a double play. The Giants finally broke through again in the bottom of the seventh, when a Kevin Frandsen double drove in Pedro Feliz to give San Francisco a 2-0 advantage. Later in the inning, Shea Hillenbrand singled in Frandsen to make it a 3-0 game and knocked Cook out of the game.

Ray King came in out of the bullpen and promptly walked Barry Bonds. It was the only batter he'd face, as Nate Field replaced him immediately. Alou greeted Field with an RBI single to left, plating both Omar Vizquel and Hillenbrand. Feliz would later fly out to bring the inning to an end, but the damage was done and the score read 5-0 Giants.

Cain, meanwhile, was absolutely dealing. After retiring 10 of Colorado's first 11 hitters, he later sent down 13 straight after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning. Cain, whose 13 wins lead all NL rookies, has been nearly unhittable for a month now. He's 5-0 in six starts since Aug. 12 with an 0.21 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 42 innings and no earned run over his last 30 2/3 innings. It doesn't get any more dominant than that. He's now a bona fide NL Rookie of the Year candidate.

Vinnie Chulk finished off the two-hitter by pitching a scoreless ninth, and the Giants win the rubber match 5-0. Considering how shorthanded the bullpen is due to so many injuries, Cain's strong outing was that much more important. San Francisco now embarks on a crucial 10-game road trip, starting Friday in St. Louis.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: Matt Cain gets the nod for his sixth straight stellar outing. He allowed just three baserunners over eight innings and struck out seven. This kid is going to be special.



Dalton can be reached at seven3d@aol.com for any complaints, questions or preferably, compliments..

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