Giants 4, Dodgers 3: Is Matt Cain back or do the Dodgers just stink that bad?

San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain tips his cap to fans as he leaves the baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain tips his cap to fans as he leaves the baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday night with a 4-3 win. But what’s more important — alright, at least AS important — is that Matt Cain got his first win of the year.

Cain pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on 5 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 4. It was his walk to Matt Kemp in the eighth that led to his exit after 109 pitches. When three relievers could not prevent Kemp from eventually scoring, that’s when Cain picked up his lone earned run.

For only the third time in seven starts this season, Cain did not allow a home run. Not too surprising since eight of the nine homers Cain has allowed have come on the road.

But it’s also important to note because prior to Sunday’s start, 14 of the previous 17 runs Cain had allowed had scored via the home run. His ERA this season on balls that did not leave the yard: 2.57 — and that includes the disastrous nine-run inning against the Cardinals on April 7.

So the morale to the story is: If Cain can keep from giving up the long ball, he’s the Matt Cain we’ve all grown to know and love.

Or is it something else? Could it be, perhaps, the Dodgers?

Consider this: Cain’s ERA this season in two starts against Big Blue: 0.68 in 13.1 innings. Against everyone else: 7.85 in 28.2 innings.

We may get a better idea after his next start, which is slated for Friday at home against the Braves, who ranked second in the NL in home runs.

After that, his next start comes against the Rockies. Colorado leads the NL in home runs, and the game will be played in Coors Field.

Here’s a breakdown of Cain’s starts this season, courtesy of Baseball Reference

Rk Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA Entered Exited
1 237 1 Apr 1 SFG @ LAD L,0-4 GS-6 99 6.0 4 0 0 1 8 0 1 0.00 1b start tie 6b 3 out tie
2 238 6 Apr 7 SFG STL L,3-14 GS-4 L(0-1) 5 3.2 7 9 9 2 2 0 0 8.38 1t start tie 4t 1-3 2 out d5
3 239 11 Apr 12 SFG @ CHC L,3-4 GS-7 4 7.0 7 2 2 2 6 2 0 5.94 1b start tie 7b 3 out d2
4 240 16 Apr 18 SFG @ MIL L,2-7 GS-6 L(0-2) 5 6.0 7 7 7 0 4 3 1 7.15 1b start tie 6b 3 out d6
5 241 21 Apr 23 SFG ARI L,4-6 GS-6 4 6.0 5 4 3 1 6 1 0 6.59 1t start tie 6t 3 out d4
6 242 26 Apr 29 SFG @ ARI W,6-4 GS-6 5 6.0 5 4 4 4 6 3 0 6.49 1b start a 2 6b 3 out tie
May Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA Entered Exited
7 243 31 May 5 SFG LAD W,4-3 GS-8 W(1-2) 5 7.1 5 1 1 3 4 0 0 5.57 1t start tie 8t 1– 1 out a4
SFG 42.0 40 27 26 13 36 9 2 5.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/6/2013.

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