AT&T PARK — What started out as a pitcher’s duel blasted off when the San Francisco offense exploded for a big fourth inning on their way to an 8-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Tim Hudson and Matt Cain each allowed just one hit through the first three and a half innings.
And then came the bottom of the fourth, and with it, the Giants offense.
Marco Scutaro led off the inning with a single to extend his hitting streak to ten games. Pablo Sandoval followed it up with a single of his own, then Buster Posey doubled to bring home the first run of the game.
But the Giants were just getting started.
Hunter Pence singled home Sandoval before Brandon Belt blooped a double over the head of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman to bring in Posey.
After Andres Torres struck out and Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked, Cain collected his first hit of the season, an RBI single to right to help his own cause and give the Giants a 4-0 lead.
San Francisco pitchers now have six RBIs on the season, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the lead in the Majors.
And the offense still wasn’t done. In his second at-bat of the inning, Scutaro slapped another single – this time to left – to drive in Belt and Crawford and knock Hudson out of the game.
The six runs on seven hits in a single inning is a season high for the Giants. It also marked the first time San Francisco has beat Hudson since April 8, 2006. Over that span of nine starts, Hudson was 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA against the Giants.
Scutaro — a former teammate of Hudson when both played for the A’s — explained how good of a pitcher he is:
Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro
Audio: Jen Cosgriff/SFBay
“He’s tough. He can throw you any pitch, any count. … Everybody knows what a great pitcher he is, so for us to have a big inning was huge for Matt [Cain]. He could do his thing and make his pitches.”
The Braves got on the board in the top of the 5th when Brian McCann crushed a two-run home run into McCovey Cove.
After starting the season on the disabled list, McCann now has two home runs and seven RBIs in his first four games back. He hit his first homer of the season Thursday night off of Ryan Vogelsong.
Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca is acting manager while Fredi Gonzalez is away at his daughter’s graduation – impressed with McCann:
“His swing looks really, really good. He’s very confident up there and, you know, good for us and good for him.”
San Francisco added some insurance runs in the bottom of the 6th when Angel Pagan hit his own two-run shot to right field to bring the Giants lead back to six, where it would stay.
Despite taking a McCann line drive off the hip in the second inning — which he still fielded cleanly for the out — Cain was superb for his second quality start in a row. He threw 114 pitches in eight innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out seven.
After going 0-2 in April, Cain is now 2-0 with a 1.78 ERA in May. His eight innings ties Madison Bumgarner for a season-high for Giants starters.
Cain talked about his recent success:
Giants starter Matt Cain
“I’ve just been feeling good, you know, I’ve been feeling better. Buster [Posey] did a great job, and [Guillermo] Quiroz did a great job back there last time, too, just kind of instilling confidence in me to go out there and have confidence to throw all my pitches, no matter what it was.”
George Kontos and Javier Lopez combined to close out the ninth and preserve the win.
Scutaro is batting .487 (19-for-39) during his ten-game hitting streak. … C Brian McCann hit the first splash home run at AT&T Park this season. It marked the first splash home run since Brandon Belt hit one on Sept. 4, 2012. McCann’s blast was the 88th splash home run overall and the 26th by an opponent.