SAN FRANCISCO -- There were many things about the first two games of this series that bothered Giants manager Bruce Bochy, but nothing got under his skin more than the strikeouts. The Giants struck out 19 times in two losses, and after the second one, Bochy pointed out that the A's were simply putting the ball in play and letting good things happen.

Bochy's Giants did plenty of that Wednesday while getting a 5-2 win over the A's that put them back in a tie for first place in the National League West. They scored one run on a Hunter Pence homer, but the rest of the production came on well-placed singles, smart baserunning and mistakes by the A's.

"We scratched and clawed and got some runs in," Bochy said. "More than anything, we've got to go as hard as we can. You play loose and go out there and have fun, and you play aggressive. You've got to put runs on the board, and tonight we did it. If we can do that consistently, I like where we're at with this pitching."

Matt Cain kept the strong run going for the starting staff, giving up just two runs over six innings to earn his second victory of the season. The Giants are 37-11 when they score first, and they never trailed in this one.


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They had scored just one run in the first two games of the series, but Gregor Blanco got the action started with some savvy baserunning in the second inning. Blanco drew a walk and wasted no time breaking for third when Joe Panik lined a single to left on a hit-and-run. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes -- perhaps a little too eager to show off his cannon of an arm -- bobbled the ball as he came up to it. Blanco never slowed, rounding third and scoring easily.

Brandon Belt isn't known for his speed, but he displayed quick thinking on the bases an inning later. On first after a walk, Belt went far enough down the line on Pablo Sandoval's liner to center that he was able to make it to third when Coco Crisp came up short with a diving attempt. Belt scored on Buster Posey's single to left.

Stephen Vogt and Pence traded homers in the fourth, with Pence becoming the first player to hit one into the produce garden beyond the center field wall. It was a natural fit; Pence was the only Giants player to attend the grand opening of the garden last month.

The Giants kept scratching and clawing, scoring two insurance runs in the sixth. Panik had a leadoff single and Brandon Crawford reached safely with a perfectly placed bunt between the mound and first base. Pence hit a chopper up the middle that bounced off second baseman Alberto Callaspo's glove, allowing Panik to score. Crawford took third on the play and made it home on a wild pitch.

It was rarely pretty, but it didn't need to be Wednesday. Cain was sharp through six, and Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla cruised through the final three innings.

"This felt really good," Cain said. "Guys came up with big hits when needed. ... Those guys (in the bullpen) did a great job. They came in and just shut the door. That's what you expect of those guys, and that's what they expect of themselves."

The win was a throwback to April and May. Seven Giants reached base and four players had multiple hits.

"When we're at our best, or really when any team is at its best, you're getting contributions all up and down the lineup," Posey said. "Early in the season that's what we were doing. It wasn't necessarily one person that was extremely hot, it was just everybody being consistent."

  • Marco Scutaro is expected to return to the lineup Friday or Saturday. The 38-year-old second baseman is scheduled to play nine innings Thursday for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies and then head to San Francisco. Bochy said Scutaro would almost certainly return to the second spot in the lineup when activated.

    Scutaro has missed the entire season with a lower back strain, but in the last two weeks he has played eight rehab games, going 3 for 19 with a double and RBI. Bochy said he doesn't need to see production at the minor league level before putting Scutaro back in a big league lineup.

    "He feels pretty comfortable. Looking at the reports, his swing is free and easy," Bochy said. "That's what's important to us. He's got the kind of stroke that I don't think needs a lot of at-bats."

  • Infielder Ehire Adrianza (right hamstring strain) was brought off the disabled list, and outfielder Juan Perez was optioned back to Triple-A Fresno.

    For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic.