SAN FRANCISCO--San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy to get his "horse" back on Friday night, as Matt Cain returned from the disabled list.
By the end of the night, it looked as if Bochy had the old Buster Posey back, too.
Cain pitched seven strong innings, and Posey snapped out of a funk by hitting a tiebreaking two-run home run in the eighth inning to propel a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets at AT&T Park.
Cain, in his first start since being activated from the D.L, carried a no-hitter into the sixth before allowing an infield single. The only runs he allowed Friday came on a two-run home run by Daniel Murphy in the seventh inning.
And maybe the sight of his old batterymate put a charge into Posey, too. He entered the night just 11 for his past 63 (.175) but went 3 for 4, including the home run.
It was his first long ball in more than a month. Posey last went deep May 3 against the Atlanta Braves. This blast off reliever Carlos Torres snapped a 2-2 tie and made a winner out of Jeremy Affeldt. That was a heck of a gift for Affeldt's 35th birthday.
The return to form by Cain and Posey, at least for a night, delivered yet another boost for a team already pulling away from the field. The Giants became the first team in baseball to win 40 games. They didn't win 40 games last season until July 6.
In all, the Giants have won 12 of their past 15.
And now, they have Cain back in the saddle.
"He's one of our leaders on the staff. It's critical that we have him back and keep him healthy," Bochy said.
The Giants lead the National League West by 8 1/2 games, a margin built despite two stints on the D.L. for Cain. The three-time All-Star was sidelined because of a cut on his right index finger, then again because of a strained right hamstring.
Friday marked Cain's first start since May 21, when he lasted all of 36 pitches. This time, he was sharp--even dominating--from the outset. Cain's fastball touched 94 mph on the stadium radar gun, and he had command of all of his pitches.
He needed only 13 pitches to get through the first inning, 10 to get through the second and 11 to get through the third. He finished the night by throwing 57 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
Cain didn't allow a hit until Ruben Tejada's infield single leading off the sixth inning. Shortstop Brandon Crawford ranged far to his right to backhand the ball but had no chance of throwing out Tejada at first.
Tejada was promptly erased on a double play, but Cain couldn't wiggle free in the seventh. Matt den Dekker led off with a double, and Murphy followed by blasting a ball into the right-field seats.
New York's 2-1 lead was short-lived, however. Crawford tied it in the bottom of the inning with a single to score Brandon Hicks.
--To make room on the roster for Cain, the Giants designated reliever David Huff for assignment. The left-hander was 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA over 16 games this season.
As he exited the clubhouse, Huff said he was surprised to get the news. He said he pitched well other than two lousy outings (four runs each against the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
Still, he called his time with the Giants "a great ride" and said he would accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers. The Giants have 10 days to trade, release or outright Huff.
--Dylan Davis, a center fielder from Oregon State, highlighted the Giants' selections on day two of the first-year player draft. The Giants took the 6-foot, 215-pounder in the third-round (87th overall). Davis led the Pac-12 Conference with 64 RBI.
The Giants also took a Stanford outfielder, Austin Slater, in the eighth round (238th overall). In all, eight of the Giants first 10 draft picks were college players.
-- Bochy improved to 9 for 13 in replay challenges this year by successfully initiating a review in the fifth. Bochy noted that a Jonathon Niese pitch that appeared to bounce at home plate actually struck Cain, the hitter, in the foot. Cain was awarded first base.
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