ATLANTA -- Being more than just a power pitcher has helped Matt Cain dominate power hitters. With his versatility, Cain hasn't allowed a home run in his past 13 starts. Elias Sports Bureau discovered this is the longest such stretch by a Major League pitcher since Tim Hudson, who sustained a 13-game streak in 2004 with Oakland. The last Giants starter with a homerless streak this long was Mike LaCoss, who also had a 13-gamer in 1989.
Cain's streak reflects the improvement he tends to make each year as the season wears on, as he has lowered his ERA from 4.67 to 3.57 during his homer-free stretch. Last year, Cain had a 4.04 ERA in his first 20 starts and a 3.04 figure in the last 12. In 2006, Cain was 1-5 with a 7.04 ERA in his first seven outings before finishing 13-12 with a 4.15 ERA. "I think I probably knew what I was trying to do or wanted to do the last year or so, but sometimes I think now I'm a little better about executing," said Cain, who allowed one run in seven innings Friday as the Giants defeated Atlanta, 5-1. Pitching coach Dave Righetti has noticed that Cain, 23, no longer expends too much energy at the beginning of a game as he once did.
"It's a better thought process, and that's part of maturity," Righetti said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.