Years later and some 500 miles to the south, Tyson Ross still considers the San Francisco Giants to be rivals.
Born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland, where he later pitched for the A’s, Ross beat the Giants for the first time in six career appearances by throwing eight scoreless innings to lead the San Diego Padres to a 2-1 victory Friday night.
”East Bay, man,” Ross said. ”That was a lot of fun. I grew up an A’s fan, so that rivalry’s definitely there. The Giants were the rival at heart for me growing up.”
Ross held the Giants to four hits, struck out nine and walked one. The Padres handed Matt Cain his third straight loss.
Ross (2-2) beat Cain five days after topping AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers. The right-hander was rarely in trouble, despite allowing a leadoff double to Angel Pagan. Ross then retired the next eight batters. He walked one.
”From there he really made pitches. I thought his stuff was outstanding,” Padres manager Bud Black said. ”He was in a pitching duel with one of the proven National League pitchers in Matt Cain, and matched him. It was a great, great pitching duel.”
Pablo Sandoval was the only Giants runner to reach third base against Ross, after hitting a single leading off the seventh and advancing on a walk and a double play. Sandoval was stranded when Ross got Brandon Crawford to line to shortstop.
Ross has made two strong starts after opening with two shaky outings.
Black said Ross made a big mechanical adjustment between his second and third starts.
”He just sort of reverted back to sort of muscling the ball with his upper body and not really driving off the mound and keeping his right foot securely against the rubber and pushing off,” Black said. ”When a pitcher doesn’t use his lower half, his stuff’s going to suffer.”
Ross said he’s worked to keep his foot against the rubber longer and not rush his pitches.
”Since I’ve made that adjustment I’ve been more consistent in the strike zone and had a better feel for all my pitches,” he said.
Cain (0-3) allowed four hits and one unearned run in seven innings while striking out eight and walking two.
The Giants have played eight straight games decided by one run, their most since another streak of eight in a row in August 1910, according to STATS.
”It’s tough,” Cain said. ”Any way you lose, it’s not fun. Tyson threw the ball really good over there and he didn’t give us many opportunities to score runs. When we had chances to do it, he (bore) down and got the job done.”
Chris Denorfia tripled to right-center with one out in the first and scored on a passed ball by Hector Sanchez, who couldn’t hold onto ball four to Jedd Gyorko.
”We were trying to throw outside and it cut on him a little bit,” Cain said. ”I got to a count where I shouldn’t have. I should have been a little more aggressive in going after Gyorko and getting him out.”
Yasmani Grandal, pinch-hitting for Ross in the eighth, homered off Juan Gutierrez, his first.
Huston Street got his sixth save in six chances, but not before allowing Brandon Belt’s homer to right with one out in the ninth, his sixth. Street walked Hunter Pence with two outs before striking out Sanchez.
After allowing Denorfia’s single with one out in the third, Cain retired 11 straight batters until Will Venable singled leading off the seventh.
It was Cain’s second straight start allowing one run and four hits in seven innings.
”He couldn’t get a win his last two games, with the way he threw the ball,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ”Giving up one run, and the way he gave up the run, it’s a shame.”
NOTES: Plate umpire Jerry Layne was scratched due to an illness, and a three-man crew worked the game. Hunter Wendlestedt took over behind the plate. … Giants C Buster Posey got the night off. … The series resumes Saturday when Giants RHP Tim Hudson (2-0, 2.35 ERA) is scheduled to face LHP Eric Stults (0-2, 5.52). … When the Padres go on the road next week, LF Carlos Quentin, who started the season on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his left knee, will go to extended spring training in Arizona to continue working toward his return. If he does well, it’ll be the last step before he’s cleared to go on a rehab assignment. Black also said RHP Casey Kelly, who’s rehabbing from reconstructive elbow surgery, threw a side session and is scheduled to throw another extended spring game Monday. If all goes well, Kelly will go on a rehab assignment to Triple-A El Paso.