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.