SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Buster Posey had three hits and two RBIs to back Matt Cain, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Houston Astros 3-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Cain wasn’t as dominant as he was when he pitched the first perfect game in Giants history against the Astros on June 13 but did just enough to win for just the second time since that historic night. San Francisco’s right-hander struck out six and walked one.
The Giants won despite being without their best hitter. Melky Cabrera took a temporary leave to attend the birth of his child in Florida.
Marwin Gonzalez had two hits and scored Houston’s only run. The Astros fell to 1-10 in July.
San Francisco’s first sweep of the Astros since 2010 increased its lead to 1 1-2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West heading into a critical six-game road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia.
That’s a far better position than the Giants were in when they stumbled into the All-Star break having dropped five of six.
Cain (10-3) snapped his personal three-game winless streak but didn’t come close to duplicating his first outing when he retired 27 consecutive Houston hitters when the two teams met earlier this season.
He allowed five hits, made a throwing error that led to an unearned run and pitched with runners in scoring position most of the afternoon before leaving with one out in the seventh.
Four relievers combined to blank Houston over the final 2 2-3 innings. Santiago Casilla, who blew a save on Saturday and was booed when he entered the game with one out in the ninth on Sunday, retired two batters for his 23rd save.
Bud Norris (5-7) took the loss for the Astros.
Houston scored only five runs in the series while Astros hitters struck out 34 times in the three games.
San Francisco jumped on Norris for two runs in the first inning. Posey had an RBI single and Brandon Belt drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Emmanuel Burriss.
That looked like it might be enough for Cain, who had retired 34 consecutive Houston hitters dating back to 2011 before Gonzalez’s leadoff double in the third.
Gonzalez, activated from the disabled list before the game, later scored on Cain’s two-out throwing error.
Cain retired Scott Moore to get out of the two-on, two-out jam but wasn’t as fortunate the next inning. Brian Bogusevic singled and scored on Chris Johnson’s double to the gap in left center to tie the game at 2-2.
The Giants regained the lead on Posey’s single in the fifth, and Cain stuck around long enough to get the win.
Jeremy Affeldt replaced Cain with one out in the seventh and runners on the corner. He quickly retired Carlos Corporan on a foul out to the catcher then got pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell to fly out to right.
Norris, who grew up about an hour north of AT&T Park, allowed all three San Francisco runs and walked six. He has lost six consecutive decisions after beginning the year 5-1.
Cabrera, the major league leader in hits and the MVP of last Tuesday night’s All-Star game, took a red-eye flight to Orlando following Saturday night’s 3-2 extra-inning win over the Houston Astros. He’s expected to rejoin the team in Atlanta on Tuesday.
NOTES: The Astros placed IF Jed Lowrie and C Jason Castro on the disabled list before the game. Lowrie injured his right ankle and leg during a collision at second base in the third inning of Saturday’s game while continues to hindered by soreness in his right leg, the same one he had surgery on in March 2011. Houston also purchased the contract of Corporan from Triple-A Oklahoma City. … San Francisco LHP Barry Zito (7-6) will pitch Tuesday’s series opener in Atlanta. … J.A. Happ (6-9) goes for Houston on Monday in San Diego.
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