SAN FRANCISCO — On a chilly night at AT&T Park, Johnny Cueto provided a reminder to his new fan base: The Giants new No. 2 is the guy who struck out a league-high 242 batters just two seasons ago.
Cueto struck out 11 in an overwhelming performance at AT&T Park, leading the Giants to a 1-0 win over the Padres and clinching his 100th career win. He threw 119 pitches in the shutout, coming one strikeout shy of tying his career-high.
Cueto gave up a leadoff double to Jon Jay in the first but then retired nine straight Padres, including four straight via strikeout. He got Adam Rosales and James Shields swinging at changeups in the third and froze Jay on a two-seamer.
Buster Posey gunned a runner down at second to help Cueto get out of the fourth, but the Padres came right back and loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Cueto got Jay to hit a hard grounder to short that Brandon Crawford quickly flipped to second after a momentary bobble. Joe Panik was lightning-fast turning two.
The Giants didn’t have a hit through four but Shields was far from dominant, putting three on base and giving up plenty of hard outs. Crawford led off the fifth with a single up the middle and scored when Denard Span crushed a double off the bricks.
Cueto’s pitch count started to rise quickly in the later innings, and he needed to put some work in to get three strikeouts in the seventh. Cory Gearrin warmed up in the eighth after a leadoff single but Cueto struck out Jay and Will Myers and the tying run was erased when Posey threw pinch-runner Travis Jankowksi out at second. Cueto followed the throw, screaming and pumping his fist when the double play was completed.
Cueto sprinted to the mound for the top of the ninth as Santiago Casilla warmed up. Matt Kemp flied out to right on Cueto's 117 pitch and No. 118 got a Melvin Upton Jr. flyout. The 119th pitch was a grounder to third and ended the game.
Starting pitching report: Cueto has recorded at least 21 outs in each of his first five starts, and he walked away from this night with a 2.65 ERA. He's one of just three four-game winners in the National League.
Bullpen report: Take the night off, fellas.
At the plate: Hunter Pence’s double in the sixth came off the bat at 110 mph. Per baseballsavant.com, it was just the fifth Giants hit this season that was at least 110 mph. Pence has three of them, and all have come in the past three days. (In case you were wondering, Buster Posey has the other two.)
In the field: It’s pretty hard to turn a double play any faster than Joe Panik did to get Cueto out of a jam in the fifth. A short review confirmed the second out.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,413 human beings who made Big Game jokes in 2014.
Up next: Jeff Samardzija will go for the sweep against Andrew Cashner, the hard-throwing right-hander.