San Francisco Giants' Andrew Susac, left, and Santiago Casilla celebrate the team's 3-0 defeat of the New York Mets in a baseball game Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

San Francisco Giants' Andrew Susac, left, and Santiago Casilla celebrate the team's 3-0 defeat of the New York Mets in a baseball game Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Highlight-reel night for Pence, Cain in Giants win

A gem by Matt Cain in his first start at AT&T Park in nearly a year. A big night by Hunter Pence in his return to the lineup after more than a month. That’s what it took for the Giants to finally get out of their extended funk on Tuesday.

The Giants blanked the New York Mets 3-0 to snap a streak of seven straight losses.

“To have him in the lineup, I think meant a lot for all of the guys,” manager Bruce Bochy said when asked about Pence’s impact. “He plays with fire. He plays with energy and that stuff’s contagious.”

Before the game, Bochy half-jokingly hoped Cain would go seven innings. Instead, the skipper had to settle for six frames of shutout ball. The Horse allowed just two hits and struck out seven.

“[That’s a] great effort he gave us,” Bochy said. “He looked good. He had good stuff. So, it was good to see him throw the ball well.”

The vintage outing from Cain was an encouraging sign for the Giants —even if it came against an inept Mets offense which was second-to-last in batting average and third-to last in runs in the league.

The Giants are in desperate need of a No. 2 starter to slot into the rotation behind Madison Bumgarner. In his home debut, Cain looked liked a pitcher who just might be up to that task.

Cain wouldn’t have escaped unscathed if not for the glove and arm of Pence. After Curtis Granderson led off the sixth inning with a triple, Ruben Tejada stepped to the plate and lofted what appeared to be a sacrifice fly down the right field line. Pence raced into the bullpen and made a sprawling catch before popping to his feet and uncorking a rocket that nabbed the sliding Granderson at the plate.

“With how fast he had to get up and get rid of it, he put it right on the money for [Andrew] Susac,” Bochy said. “It’s one of the best plays I’ve seen — the whole play.”

For his part, Pence called the play a “miracle” and offered praise for his teammate.

“Susac made a ridiculous catch and tag. That’s the special part of the play,” Pence said. ”And when I saw that and when I saw the umpire call him out, it was a pretty good feeling, especially behind of how magnificent Cain had been throwing.”

Pence, who had been out since June 2 while recovering from left wrist tendinitis, also drove in two of the club’s three runs.

Initially, Pence wasn’t supposed to be back in the lineup until after the All-Star Break, but his return was pushed up after he was cleared
by the team’s doctors. As Bochy explained before the game, the move was also made in part because the reeling team was searching for a spark.

“We need some help,” Bochy said. “Right now, we’re struggling. It’s not like we’re taking away a big bat by playing him here. I think his presence means a lot.”

Help is exactly what Pence provided, but Bochy also recognized that there is some danger in accelerating the veteran’s recovery timetable, as it could lead him to reaggravate his wrist injury.

“We probably would take a little bit more time before we put him in there,” Bochy said. “But again, I think you see where you’re at, how we’re doing, how his replacements are doing. That plays a part.”

Hunter PenceMatt CainMLBNew York MetsSan Francisco Giants

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read