The Giants had been floating at around .500 for most of the first half of the season. However, since June hit, they've been on a tear, going 9-4 through the month's first 14 days, and raising their record to a season-high, 6 games above .500.
Matt Cain upped his record to 9-1 and helped the Giants defeat the A's for the third straight time, completing the sweep of their  cross-bay nemesis on Sunday. If there were any doubt as whether or not Cain deserved to be an NL All-Star before this start, it was all erased today. The 24 year-old allowed just 4 hits over the complete game masterpiece, striking out 9 A's en route to the victory. The big stat for Cain on this day though was the goose egg in the base on balls column. That was the reason why he was able to finish this one out. If he had walked 3-4 batters like he normally does, he wouldn't have lasted through the 8th, as he had to still throw 119 pitches to complete it. With the outing, Cain dropped his season era to a measly 2.39, and now sits alone with Chad Billingsly atop the NL with 9 victories. Charlie Mannuel is going to have a helluva a time deciding who to start for the NL exactly one month from today in the All-Star game cause there are a handful of guys who have done more than enough to earn that nod. Tim Lincecum, who also threw a complete game in the Oakland series, is also in that mix.
Sure, the Giants got complete game shutouts out of their two-aces, Cain and Lincecum, but it wasn't all about the arms over the weekend at China Basin. Young corner infielder Pablo  Sandoval is slowly taking over the reigns of the Giants offense and is becoming their most consistent threat. The Panda filled up the stat sheet over the weekend, going 4 for 10 with 3 runs, a jack and 2 RBI. Sandoval has consistently steadied his production over the past month or so and his batting average (.325 after Sunday's game) is reflecting it. Part of the reason of his success is that he's starting to learn the strike zone a little better. He's always going to be a guy that likes to swing the bat, but he's starting to recognize learn to works counts better.
Nate Schierholtz helped Sandoval on the offensive end Sunday as well, driving in 3 runs with an inside the park shot to triples alley. Amazingly, in less than 1/2 the at-bats Fred Lewis has taken, Schierholtz has tied him in RBI's. Nate had been scuffling himself recently, but maybe Sunday's game shakes him out of his funk and he goes on a roll for a while. We know he can hit, (always hit .300+ in the minors and majors before this year) and maybe he just needed a solid game to get him going. For the time being I'd stick with Schierholtz and Andres Torres in left until they wear out their welcome, then I'd give Freddy another shot. John Bowker, who's hitting .340 with 8 home runs in Fresno, could also get a look eventually.