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."
San Francisco's outburst spoiled the return of Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (0-1), who was celebrating an anniversary of his own. The righthander underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on June 14, 2012. Just short of a year later, he surrendered four runs on seven hits, striking out five and walking one. The right-hander also hit three batters while making his first major league start in 381 days.
"I wish it had gone better but I think I can take quite a few positives," Morton said.
The Giants didn't knock Morton around so much as chip away. San Francisco touched Morton for a run in each of the first two innings then added two more in the fifth before breaking things open with five runs in the sixth against reliever Mike Zagurski.
The romp was a welcome change for the defending World Series champions, who have struggled on the road. San Francisco came in just 4-12 in its last 16 games away from AT&T Park but had little trouble with Cain returning to form.