The San Francisco Giants had never posted four straight shutouts until now.
The stingy club has been getting a lot of help from their pitching staff and will have a good shot at extending the streak to five games with Matt Cain slated to take the mound Friday in the continuation of a four-game series versus the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park.
Cain, of course, tossed a perfect game on June 13 versus Houston and hasn't lost since a 2-1 setback to Miami on May 1, going 8-0 with a 2.23 earned run average in 10 starts since. Cain did not record a decision in Sunday's 4-2 loss at Oakland and held the Athletics to a run and three hits in seven innings. He is 9-2 in 15 starts with a 2.27 ERA.
The big right-hander is 4-1 in seven home starts and lost to Cincinnati earlier this season on April 24, when he was reached for three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 9-2 decision. Cain owns a 4-4 mark and a 3.19 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds.
San Francisco's other four starters in the rotation have ripped off wins in succession, as Madison Bumgarner became the latest to reach victory lane with a one-hit shutout against the Reds last night. He struck out eight batters and walked two to push his record to 10-4 and keep the shutout streak alive.
"Amazing! It really is," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the shutout streak. "I've never seen it."
Giants starting pitchers have gone a San Francisco-era record 36 straight innings without allowing a run.
As for the offense, Ryan Theriot, Gregor Blanco, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan had an RBI apiece for San Francisco, which is 4-0 on a seven-game homestand, has won six of seven games and is in sole possession of first place in the National League West at one game ahead of Los Angeles. The Giants are an NL-best 17-9 in June.
Cincinnati kicked off an 11-game odyssey in California last night and lost for the seventh time in 10 tries.
Ryan Hanigan had the Reds' only hit off Bumgarner, while Johnny Cueto suffered his first loss in June by giving up three runs, two of which were earned, in six innings. Cueto walked four and struck out three batters.
"You feel helpless sitting over there. There's not much you can do when you're not getting hits and not getting baserunners," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who turned 31 on Thursday, sat out with a head injury. His status for tonight's game is unclear.
Cincinnati will also visit Los Angeles and San Diego on the trek and has dropped four in a row away from Great American Ball Park.
Taking the mound for the Reds tonight will be Mike Leake. The right-hander hasn't received a decision in four straight trips to the mound and was last in action during a 4-3 loss to Minnesota in which he delivered eight innings of two-run ball and five strikeouts.
Leake, who has won his last two decisions on June 1 and May 21, is 2-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 starts this season. He is 1-2 in six road outings and 2-0 with a less-than-stellar 5.68 ERA in four career games (3 starts) against the Giants.
The Reds won two of three games against the Giants earlier this season from April 24-26 and are 7-4 in the past 11 meetings between the clubs.