Giants go large late to top Seattle

Giants go large late to top Seattle

SEATTLE -- For the Giants, Saturday brought sweet relief.

Sweet relief was manifested by the searing line drive that Juan Uribe drilled into right-center field with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, ending the Giants' offensive torpor.

Sweet relief was personified by Matt Cain, who maintained control over the Seattle Mariners despite allowing 10 hits.

Sweet relief was a 5-1 victory for the Giants, who ended their four-game losing streak with a five-run outburst in the eighth and Cain's complete game.

Just one inning before Uribe lashed his three-run double and Fred Lewis added a two-run homer, the Giants squandered a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity. Even in the eighth, they had two outs with nobody on base and trailed, 1-0, before Bengie Molina prolonged the inning by singling off Mariners reliever Mark Lowe (0-2). The Giants' ability to make something out of almost nothing wasn't lost on Cain.

"That shows how our team is. They're going to fight to the end," Cain said.

San Francisco continued to rise from the canvas as Randy Winn singled and Emmanuel Burriss walked to fill the bases. Up came Uribe, the utility man who seems perpetually happy. He spread good cheer by driving Lowe's 1-0 pitch for a gapper. Stroking the ball where he did reflected Uribe's mature hitting approach.

"Two years before, I pulled the ball too much," Uribe said. "Now I look up the middle or right field."

Pulling the ball worked for Lewis, the next batter, who yanked Lowe's 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats. Hungry for more, the Giants actually reloaded the bases before the rally died. Uribe's hit, said manager Bruce Bochy, transformed the club.

"You could feel a sense of relief through the dugout," Bochy said. "They were pressing. Since we got that hit, you saw different at-bats after that."

The five-run outburst equaled the number of runs the Giants scored during their losing streak. It also ended their stretch of 57 consecutive innings without tallying multiple runs.

Cain (5-1) was a worthy beneficiary, improving to 4-0 this year after Giants defeats.

"You kind of bear down a little bit more and you want to be that guy who changes the luck of the team," Cain said.

Cain accomplished that by walking none and coaxing two double-play grounders, largely offsetting Seattle's double-digit hit total. He improved the Giants' starters ERA on this trip to 1.73 (seven earned runs in 35 1/3 innings) with his fifth career complete game.

If you're dreaming about a big season for Cain, go right ahead. While finishing 15-30 in the previous two seasons, due mainly to poor run support, he didn't record his fifth victories until much later in those campaigns -- Aug. 8, 2007, and June 20, 2008.

The Giants couldn't fully revel in their triumph, however. Pablo Sandoval left the game after seven innings with a strained right elbow that will sideline him for Sunday's series finale and require an examination Monday after the team has returned to San Francisco. Sandoval said that he initially felt discomfort Friday night as he threw to first base after fielding Franklin Gutierrez's eighth-inning grounder.

"I'm a little concerned," Bochy said. "Any time an elbow flares up, you're always concerned. To lose him would be a huge blow."

Even before the game, Sandoval's elbow was sore enough to prompt Bochy to use him as the designated hitter instead of at third base. The switch-hitting Sandoval could bat right-handed -- he doubled and singled off left-hander Garrett Olson, Seattle's emergency starter who blanked the Giants on four hits through six innings -- but found that he couldn't swing left-handed, since he needed his right arm to guide his stroke. With the right-handed Lowe on the mound, Sandoval had to sit.

The Giants will summon a catcher from the Minors on Sunday, since Sandoval's unable to throw and thus cannot back up Molina. Logistics could be an issue in rushing a catcher to Safeco Field, since Triple-A Fresno is playing at Des Moines, Iowa, and Double-A Connecticut is in Portland, Maine.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.