Matt Cain fans 11, goes distance to beat Nationals 3-1

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Making the most of the little support he’s receiving, Matt Cain moved to 5-0 when the Giants score at least three runs in beating the Nationals on Wednesday.  It was his first complete game of 2011 and the 13th of his career.

Today marked the fifth time the Giants have scored exactly three runs through his 13 starts this season.  They’ve managed to win each of those games, with Cain getting two no-decisions in the process.  They’ve score a total of five runs in his four losses.

Cain helped his own cause in this one, doubling in Eli Whiteside to put the Giants on the board in the bottom of the sixth.  The Nationals tied it back up in the seventh on Rick Ankiel’s double, but the Giants scored twice in the bottom of the inning to make it 3-1.

Cain ended up throwing 110 pitches in the gem.  He reached double figures in strikeouts for the first time since a July 1, 2008 start against the Cubs.  His career high for strikeouts is 12, established in a win over the Rockies on Aug. 6, 2006.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.