DENVER — Matt Cain didn’t hang his head even after hanging a few pitches to give Colorado a big early lead.
He simply figured that there was plenty of time to get back into the game. After all, this is Coors Field, where no lead is safe.
Cain was correct.
The right-hander settled down after a bumpy beginning, Angel Pagan hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth inning and the San Francisco Giants won their 10th straight over Colorado, rallying from a six-run deficit to beat the Rockies 8-6 on Thursday night.
“What a great comeback,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “For the third game in a row, we dug ourselves a pretty good hole there.”
Only this time, they were able to recover. That wasn’t the case during a two-game series in Toronto, when the Giants were outscored 21-9.
Cain didn’t travel with the team to Canada, instead arriving in Denver early. All he could think about was not putting his team in a bad predicament.
And that’s precisely what he did.
Cain (3-2) struggled early, giving up homers on consecutive pitches to Todd Helton and Nolan Arenado in the second, along with a three-run homer to Wilin Rosario an inning later.
After that, Cain found his rhythm before being pulled with an out in the seventh. In 6 1-3 innings, he gave up nine hits but still moved to 3-0 this month.
“Playing in this ballpark, there are some runs out there,” Cain said. “That’s not always a fun thing, but it’s something you always know. Runs can come in bunches here.”
Jeremy Affeldt held the Rockies hitless in two innings of relief work before handing the ball to closer Sergio Romo, who got two outs to earn his 13th save in 15 chances. The Rockies only had one hit after Rosario’s home run.
“When you get six early off a guy like Cain you’ve got to be able to put him away,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “You’ve got a guy who’s one of the better pitchers in the league; you’ve got to get to him early. You’ve got to be able to put him away and not hang around.”
Brandon Crawford added a three-run double to help San Francisco and Marco Scutaro extended his hitting streak to 15 games. The NL West-leading Giants also extended their mastery over the Rockies, improving to 31-9 since 2011.
Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) was the reverse of Cain — solid early before falling apart. He yielded a season-high eight runs in 5 1-3 innings to a powerful Giants lineup that came into the game hitting an NL-best .267.
With this performance, Chacin’s ERA soared from 2.70 to 4.07.
“Cain pitched terrible, but Chacin pitched even worse,” Carlos Gonzalez said. “Just a bad game for him. Those guys are really good pitchers. We were able to score six runs, and then Chacin, who’s always a pitcher that gives us a chance to win — it just didn’t happen tonight. It was just a bad game.”
Trailing by six, the Giants climbed back into the game with a five-run fourth inning. Brandon Belt brought in a run with a walk, with Crawford later adding a bases-clearing double. Cain also got into the scoring act, driving in Crawford with a single. It was Cain’s second RBI of the season.
Gregor Blanco tied the game in the sixth with a sacrifice fly to center. Pagan, the leadoff hitter, gave the Giants an 8-6 lead with a two-out, two-run single over the head of reliever Adam Ottavino, who was brought in for Chacin.
The bottom of the Giants’ lineup certainly came through, driving in six runs.
“We’re awesome,” said Belt, the No. 6 hitter. “We got down early, but there was a lot of game left. We don’t give up. It worked for us tonight.”
Cain wrestled with his command early. He gave up three runs each in the second and third innings. Cain allowed back-to-back homers to Helton and Arenado. Helton stood at home plate to watch his two-run homer — not so much to admire his handiwork as see if it would curve foul. It didn’t and he trotted around the bases.
On the next offering from Cain, Arenado lined a 91 mph fastball into the seats in left-center.
Rosario had the big blow in the third, hitting a three-run homer to right.
Still, Cain kept his composure on the mound.
“He didn’t seem like he was starting to get angry,” Belt said. “It seemed like he was bearing down even more. It showed from there. … He did awesome.”
NATIONALS 6, PADRES 2
SAN DIEGO — Stephen Strasburg pitched a career-high eight innings against his hometown Padres, and Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche homered to lead the Washington Nationals to a 6-2 victory against San Diego on Thursday night.
Strasburg’s 54th big league start was his first professional appearance at Petco Park. The big right-hander went to high school in suburban Santee and pitched for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at San Diego State before the Nationals took him with the first overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He pitched twice at Petco Park for SDSU.
He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits while striking out four and walking three. He got the final out of the eighth on his 117th pitch.
Strasburg (2-5) had gone seven innings 10 times, including three this year.
In Strasburg’s only other appearance against the Padres, he lasted just four innings in a 6-1 loss at Washington on May 15, 2012.
Edison Volquez (3-4) took the loss.
METS 5, CARDINALS 2
ST. LOUIS — Daniel Murphy and David Wright combined for five hits and three RBIs against Adam Wainwright and the Mets snapped a six-game losing streak with a victory over the Cardinals.
Jonathan Niese (3-4) allowed two runs on six hits in 7 1-3 innings, his longest outing of the season. He ended his four-game losing streak over five starts since a win at Minnesota on April 12.
The Mets avoided a four-game sweep by getting to the Cardinals ace. Wainwright (5-3) was coming off a two-hit shutout in which he no-hit the Rockies for 7 1-3 innings.
Murphy went 4 for 4, doubled twice and walked, and was 9 for 15 in the series. Wright doubled, singled and drove in two runs.
The Cardinals have never swept the Mets in a four-game series at home, almost always playing three-game sets.
REDS 5, MARLINS 3, 10 innings
MIAMI — NL RBI leader Brandon Phillips homered in the sixth inning and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, helping the Reds complete their second three-game sweep in a row by beating the Marlins.
Mat Latos and two relievers combined on a six-hitter. Aroldis Chapman (3-1) blew a save for the first time in nine chances.
J.J. Hoover gave up a run in the 10th but earned his third save.
Pinch-hitter Donald Lutz led off the 10th with a single against Steve Cishek (1-4). Following a walk, a bunt and an intentional walk, Phillips lifted a flyball for his second RBI of the night and 36th of the season.
Jay Bruce followed with a two-run double and finished with three RBIs.
PIRATES 7, BREWERS 1
PITTSBURGH — Travis Snider homered for the first time in nine months and drove in three runs to lead the Pirates past the reeling Brewers.
Snider finished 3 for 5, including a 458-foot blast off Hiram Burgos (1-2) in the sixth inning that gave the Pirates the lead. The home run sailed over bushes in right-center field at PNC Park, bounced on a sidewalk outside the stadium and landed in the Allegheny River.
Francisco Liriano (2-0) allowed one run on six hits over 5 2-3 innings, striking out seven and walking three.
Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Garrett Jones and Russell Martin had two hits for Pittsburgh.
Burgos gave up three runs in six innings but Milwaukee’s offense sputtered. The Brewers have lost 11 of 13.
RED SOX 4, RAYS 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Will Middlebrooks had a three-run double off closer Fernando Rodney with two outs in the ninth inning.
Middlebrooks lined a shot to left on a 1-2 pitch from Rodney (1-2) with the base loaded, giving the Red Sox the lead. Rodney, who blew just two saves last year, is 7 for 10 in save opportunities this year.
After walking Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, Rodney struck out Mike Napoli before loading the bases with a walk to Daniel Nava. Stephen Drew struck out, but Middlebrooks then came up with his bases-clearing hit.
Junichi Tazawa (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. He retired James Loney on a grounder with two on and two outs in the ninth.
RANGERS 10, TIGERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Geovany Soto ended Justin Verlander’s night with a three-run homer that capped a seven-run third, and Yu Darvish lasted eight innings in a pitching duel that fizzled in the Rangers’ victory over the Tigers.
Soto’s drive just over the wall in left field came after Verlander walked in two runs — he had three previous bases-loaded walks in his career. Mitch Moreland’s two-out double broke a 3-all tie before Soto’s drive put Texas ahead 8-3.
Darvish (7-1) won his fifth straight decision despite allowing two home runs for the third start in a row.
Verlander (4-4) gave up six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 2 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since going two innings in a 14-6 loss to the New York Mets on June 22, 2010.
MARINERS 3, YANKEES 2
NEW YORK — Andy Pettitte and Chris Stewart became the latest Yankees to get hurt, and emergency Seattle starter Hector Noesi pitched into the fifth inning in place of ailing Aaron Harang to lead the Mariners over New York.
Pettitte (4-3) left after 4 2-3 innings because of an injured back muscle near his left shoulder. New York said Pettitte hurt his trapezius muscle, and there was no immediate word on his prognosis.
Chris Stewart, who took over as the Yankees’ starting catcher when Francisco Cervelli broke a hand last month, limped off after the seventh inning and was replaced by Austin Romine.
Harang, Seattle’s scheduled starter, felt a twinge in his back Wednesday and notified the Mariners, who in turn told Noesi to prepare for his first big league start of the season.
Noesi gave up an unearned run and three hits in 4 1-3 innings, leaving with two on.
Lefty Oliver Perez (1-0) was the winner.
WHITE SOX 5, ANGELS 4
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jeff Keppinger walked with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run — his first base on balls in 141 plate appearances this season — and the White Sox rallied with three runs in the eighth to beat the Angels for their season-high third straight road win.
The Angels’ bullpen wasted a two-run lead as the club lost its second straight and dropped to 8-12 at home.
Matt Lindstrom (2-2) got the victory after facing one batter in the seventh, getting Mike Trout to fly out to right to end the inning.
Addison Reed pitched the ninth to earn his 13th save in 14 chances.
Dane De La Rosa (1-1) took the loss, giving up all three runs in the eighth.
Chicago closed to 4-3 after Alejandro De Aza scored when De La Rosa threw a wild pitch on a strikeout by Alex Rios. Alexei Ramirez tied the game 4-all on a single by Adam Dunn.