Giants snap losing streak on Cain's strong start
Opening Day starter cruises through three innings; offense helps out with 10 hits
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The San Francisco Giants ended their four-game Cactus League losing streak Sunday, grabbing an immediate lead and holding on for a 6-1 triumph over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cole Gillespie rapped a pair of singles to lead the Giants' offense.
Both starters worked three innings. San Francisco ace Matt Cain yielded one run and four hits with four strikeouts, while Milwaukee's Chris Narveson allowed two runs and five hits.
Cain might have worked one more inning but was nagged by a mildly upset stomach. With nearly three weeks of spring games remaining, Giants manager Bruce Bochy felt no need to push his Opening Day starter.
"We're in a position where we can cut back, so we did it today," Bochy said.
The Giants jumped ahead with a pair of first-inning runs. Kensuke Tanaka laid down a bunt single to begin the rally with one out. Consecutive two-out singles from Hector Sanchez, Brett Pill and Gillespie generated the scoring.
Milwaukee split the difference in the third. With one out, Norichika Aoki and Scooter Gennett singled and Carlos Gomez walked to load the bases, setting up Alex Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.
Gomez kept up his hot streak in Cactus League play, going 2-for-2 in the game and increasing his batting average to .533.
Gregor Blanco manufactured a run for San Francisco in the fifth. He beat out an infield single, stole second base and dashed to third as Tanaka struck out on a wild pitch. That drew a throw to third baseman Gonzalez from catcher Robinzon Diaz. Blanco, who already had turned for home, slid in safely on Gonzalez's throwing error.
The lead widened to 5-1 in the sixth. Sanchez walked, Pill reached base safely on a fielding error and Gillespie singled to load the bases with nobody out. Nick Noonan grounded an RBI single, ending reliever Jed Bradley's afternoon. Rob Wooten replaced Bradley and coaxed Wilson Valdez's double-play grounder, which scored Pill.
The Giants tacked on their final run when Valdez came home on an error by Gennett in the ninth.
Giants up next: First baseman Brandon Belt, who's hitting .565 (13-for-23) in his last seven games, likely will return to San Francisco's lineup -- just in time to face formidable Texas right-hander Yu Darvish on Monday in Surprise, Ariz., at 1:05 p.m PT. Madison Bumgarner, who blanked the Rangers for eight innings in Game 3 of the 2010 World Series, will start for the Giants.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.