SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 19: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 19 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

NLCS Game 3: Matt Cain Superb As Giants Coast To 3-0 Win Over Phillies

The Giants scraped three runs against Cole Hamels on a trio of RBI singles, and Matt Cain kept the Phillies scoreless for seven innings before turning things over to Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson in relief. Check out more at The Good Phight and McCovey Chronicles.

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Matt Cain, Bullpen Combine For Shutout As Giants Take NLCS Lead Over Phillies

The Phillies have been billed as the team with the best group of starting pitchers in the playoffs. The Giants, though, are pretty happy with their own.

Matt Cain hurled seven shutout innings, and he, Javier Lopez, and Brian Wilson combined for a 3-0 shutout of the Phillies that gives the Giants a two games to one lead in the NLCS.

Tuesday's Game 3 was a pitcher's duel from the get-go. Both Cain and opponent Cole Hamels - the third of Philadelphia's three aces - were perfect through two innings, and the first 13 batters of the game were retired before Carlos Ruiz smacked Cain for a third-inning single.

And it was Cain - not Hamels - who had to get out of trouble first. The Phillies would put two men on base in that third inning before Cain got out of it. And they would again put another two men on in the fourth before Cain pitched out of that jam as well.

The game remained scoreless into the bottom of the fourth, when the Giants broke through against Hamels. Edgar Renteria drilled a leadoff single for the Giants' first baserunner. Three batters later, Pat Burrell drew a walk, bringing Cody Ross to the plate with two on and two out. Ross - who's had a terrific run in the playoffs - brought the crowd to its feet, and he delivered once again by pulling a low Hamels fastball into left field for an RBI single.

That hit made it 1-0 Giants. They went up 2-0 moments later when Aubrey Huff followed Ross by pulling a groundball between first and second base. Chase Utley dove in an effort to knock it down, but the ball tipped off his glove, and Burrell came around to score.

Up by two, the Giants got a scoreless fifth from Cain before striking for an insurance run. Aaron Rowand ripped a leadoff double off Hamels in the fifth and scored when a Freddy Sanchez grounder to second took a funny bounce in front of Utley and hit off his body before rolling into the outfield. The play was initially charged as an error, and was later changed to a hit.

Cain handled his three-run lead with grace, tossing a perfect sixth. And despite an elevated pitch count, he got the job done in the seventh as well, working out of his final jam of the day. After a two-out hit batsman and walk brought Bruce Bochy out of the dugout for a chat, Cain convinced his manager to let him stay in the game, and he was able to close out the inning by getting a grounder off the bat of Shane Victorino.

Cain's day would end there, with seven shutout innings and 119 pitches. He handed the ball off to Javier Lopez, who worked a perfect eighth, and closer Brian Wilson, who worked a shutout ninth. A 4-6-3 double play grounded into by Raul Ibanez officially handed Game 3 to the Giants.

Cain was the winner, and Hamels was the hard-luck loser, allowing three runs in six innings while striking out eight. You can only do so much when your lineup doesn't produce, and this was the first time the Phillies have been blanked in a playoff game since 1983.

Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled to take place Wednesday night, and will put Madison Bumgarner up against Joe Blanton. There's been a lot of talk that Charlie Manuel might skip Blanton in favor of starting Roy Halladay on short rest, but for now, Blanton appears locked in.


Phillies Vs. Giants, NLCS Game 3: Brian Wilson Seals The Deal With Save

Brian Wilson has a reputation of always making things more interesting than they have to be, but a three-run lead? A three-run lead's pretty cozy.

Wilson was called on to protect a 3-0 game in the ninth inning, and he got the job done with little trouble. He started things off by racking up a swinging strikeout of Jayson Werth. Jimmy Rollins followed by lining a long single off the wall in right, but Raul Ibanez followed with a grounder to second that made for a textbook 4-6-3 double play.

With the win, the Giants go up two games to one in the series, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday evening. Expect Charlie Manuel to keep on getting more and more questions about who he's going to start.


Phillies Vs. Giants, NLCS Game 3: Grounder Off Chase Utley Brings In Third Run

While Matt Cain is busy shutting the Phillies down, the Giants are busy playing add-on. Already up 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, Aaron Rowand led off with a double to left, and three batters later, Freddy Sanchez chopped a grounder to second base. The grounder, though, took a funny hop right in front of Chase Utley and bounced off of and away from him.

The ball ended up in shallow center field, and Rowand came around to score to put the Giants up 3-0. That's where we are, going into the sixth.


Phillies Vs. Giants, NLCS Game 3: Cody Ross Drives In First Run; Aubrey Huff Adds Insurance

The scoreless tie is a scoreless tie no more, as the Giants have gotten on the board against Cole Hamels in the bottom of the fourth. It started when Edgar Renteria smacked a leadoff single for the Giants' first baserunner of the game. He was bunted over to second, and two batters later, Pat Burrell drew a walk. That brought Cody Ross up to the plate, and with the crowd on its feet, Ross delivered yet again, pulling a low fastball into left field for an RBI single to put the home team on top.

Not to be outdone, Aubrey Huff followed Ross' heroics by pulling a groundball through the hole between first and second. The ball tipped off the glove of a diving Chase Utley and rolled into the outfield, and Burrell scored the Giants' second run.

It's 2-0 San Francisco going into the fifth, and Hamels is up to 69 pitches.

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