PITTSBURGH — Matt Cain's mind drifted. He couldn't help it.
A year to the day after throwing the 22nd perfect game in baseball history, the San Francisco Giants ace didn't give up a hit through four innings on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I tried not to think about it, but there was enough talk about it that I couldn't really tune out,” Cain said.
A single by Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones leading off the bottom of the fifth rendered any discussion of Cain making history again moot, one of the few things that didn't go right for the Giants in a 10-0 romp.
Cain (5-3) struck out three and walked two over 6 2-3 innings.
“He had good command of all his pitches,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “He's in a good place right now with his delivery and command. I like where he's at.”
Hunter Pence hit his 11th homer of the season, while Buster Posey, Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias had three hits apiece for San Francisco, which avoided a sweep by sending the Pirates to their worst loss of the year.
Not bad for a team missing injured stars Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan, all of whom are on the disabled list.
“It's a great sign,” Bochy said. “We're missing three big bats. You hope guys pick it up and they have the last couple of games. Blanco had a big game. Really, a lot of guys had big games.”
Even if it wasn't required on a night Cain seemed to move past the inconsistent play that's dogged him over the first two months of the season.
The three-time All-Star has run hot and cold this season, getting off to a horrific start in April before going 4-0 in May. The Giants lost his two starts this month, scoring all of one run in noth.
Given a healthy dose of support, Cain didn't let it go to waste.
“I am throwing the ball a whole lot better,” he said. “I'm trying to eliminate that big inning. I had done a good job of that for some years now but I've kind of had trouble with it this year. It's a matter of putting it in the past and getting guys out.”