Cain’s arm, bat lead Giants past Nationals 3-1 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cain’s arm, bat lead Giants past Nationals 3-1

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Matt Cain overpowered Washington with 11 strikeouts in his first complete game of the season and also hit an RBI double that helped the San Francisco Giants beat the Nationals 3-1 on Wednesday for their sixth win in eight games.

Rookie Brandon Crawford hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the seventh inning and later scored an insurance run to help the first-place Giants win their third straight series.

Yunesky Maya delivered the best performance of his career but remained winless in eight career starts as the Nationals could only muster an RBI double by Rick Ankiel in the seventh inning against Cain (5-4).

Cain and Maya were strong early, with the game remaining scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. That’s when the Giants came through with back-to-back, one-out doubles by Eli Whiteside and Cain. The hit was just the third in 27 at-bats this season for Cain and his first RBI in exactly one year. The Giants were unable to add on as Maya got Freddy Sanchez to ground out with runners on second and third to end the inning.

The Nationals answered in the bottom half when Mike Morse hit a leadoff single and later scored on Rick Ankiel’s two-out double. That’s just the fifth run the Nats have scored for Maya in his eight big-league starts. Maya allowed one run and four hits in six innings and remained winless in his career as the Nationals were unable to get a second run across against Cain.

The Giants ended up taking the lead back in the bottom half of the seventh when Crawford hit a two-out, RBI triple off Sean Burnett (1-3) and then scored on Whiteside’s single.

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That proved to be more than enough for Cain, who improved to 16-0 over the past two years when getting at least three runs of support. He allowed five hits and one walk in his 13th career complete game, needing just 110 pitches.

Cain was dominating from the start with the only hit he allowed in the first five innings coming on Danny Espinosa’s bunt with two outs in the second. The Nationals got their first clean hit with two outs in the sixth when Ian Desmond lined a single to left-center.

But Washington was unable to generate any threats against Cain, who struck out the side in order in the fourth inning against the middle of the Nationals lineup.

The Giants didn’t fare much better early against Maya, despite getting leadoff hits in the second and third innings. Aubrey Huff was doubled off first to end the second when he ran on Aaron Rowand’s blooper that was caught by right fielder Laynce Nix. Brandon Crawford was then caught stealing for the second out in the third inning by Wilson Ramos, who has thrown out 11 of 23 attempted basestealers.

Notes: The Nationals won the season-series with the World Series champion Giants 4-3. … Cain has seven double-digit strikeout games in his career. … Washington stole two bases against Whiteside. Giants catchers have thrown out just two of the past 22 attempted basestealers. … Giants INF Mike Fontenot (right groin) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno in the next couple of days, manager Bruce Bochy said.