Matt Cain outduels Cole Hamels as streaking Giants top Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- For a closer, Brian Wilson's opening statement was pitch perfect: The World Series champion San Francisco Giants are already a great team.

"But you know," Wilson added, "having a guy like Beltran, obviously, adds a lot of positive energy."

Carlos Beltran adds a big bat, too.

Matt Cain pitched into the eighth inning to outduel Cole Hamels and lead the Giants to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

The NL West-leading Giants won for the third time in four games, and help is on the way. The defending champions acquired the All-Star New York Mets outfielder when he accepted a trade after the teams worked out the framework of a deal.

Without Beltran, the Giants scratched out two runs to deny Hamels (12-6) his NL-best 13th win.

Beltran is expected to join the Giants in Philadelphia in time for Thursday night's game against the Phillies.

San Francisco could also have Tim Lincecum back on the mound for the series finale Thursday. The floppy-haired ace was scratched from his start Tuesday because of an illness, but manager Bruce Bochy was hopeful he would start the finale.

With Lincecum out, Cain (9-6) had his start moved up a day and again quieted Philadelphia's bats. Cain pitched seven shutout innings and beat Hamels in Game 3 of last year's NL Championship Series. The Giants beat the Phillies in the NLCS and this three-game series was billed as a sneak peek for another potential October showdown.

"That is some of the best stuff he had," Bochy said.

Each team has won a game, but the Beltran deal could help keep the pennant on the West Coast.

"We're not an offensive team," Bochy said.

They acquired a nice piece toward becoming one.

The Mets would get pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler, who is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts for San Francisco's high Class A affiliate in San Jose. The Giants selected Wheeler with the No. 6 pick in the 2009 draft.

Bochy called Beltran "one of the elite players of the game."

The Giants entered batting only .241 with 66 homers and 371 runs scored, all numbers that rank toward the bottom of the NL. Beltran is batting .289 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs. Asked where Beltran would play in the outfield, Bochy laughed and refused to specifically discuss the trade.

Cain allowed an unearned run and four hits before he was yanked when pinch-hitter Ross Gload reached on catcher's interference leading off the eighth. Javier Lopez got three outs and Wilson finished for his league-leading 32nd save and a combined four-hitter. The Giants have won 12 of 17.

Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand, a former Phillie, sat in the dugout for 20 minutes before the game describing some of his greatest catches in Philly and regretted a near-miss: He once climbed the center-field fence trying to make a spectacular catch, but the ball bounced off his glove. Home run, Beltran.

"When Carlos gets here," he said, his story tailing off.

Rowand helped the Giants strike first when he sliced an opposite-field triple into the right-field corner in the third for a 1-0 lead.

Jeff Keppinger doubled to lead off the seventh and Cody Ross, the NLCS MVP, walked. Nate Schierholtz followed with a low liner and right fielder Domonic Brown took a weird route before failing on a diving attempt, helping the Giants extend the lead to 2-0.

"I didn't think I could catch it, I just tried to stop it," Brown said. "Those kinds of balls, you're not sure where it's going and it was hit hard."

It was one of the few hard hits against Philadelphia's star lefty. Hamels, who threw eight shutout innings in his last start against the San Diego Padres, escaped the rest of the inning without further damage after loading the bases with no outs. Rowand grounded into a double play to end the rally.

Hamels struck out six in 7 2/3 innings and has allowed two runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts.

"Any time you play the Giants with that pitching and bullpen, it figures to be low scoring," Hamels said.

Staked to a 2-0 lead, Cain ran into trouble in the seventh. Cain and catcher Eli Whiteside couldn't get out of each other's way on Shane Victorino's infield popup. They bumped each other and the ball was knocked into foul territory for a two-base error. Brown's hard grounder deflected off first baseman Aubrey Huff and into right to make it 2-1.

Carlos Ruiz hit into a double play to end the threat.

Game notes
Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt allowed one run and one hit while throwing 72 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Oswalt will likely need at least one more start before returning to the Phillies. ... The Phillies held a pregame ceremony for new Hall of Famer Pat Gillick. Gillick was the general manager when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. He's a senior adviser for the team. Gillick became teary-eyed as a portrait was unveiled and he took a victory lap in a car around the field.