Tagged: Matt Cain

Cincinnati Reds 5, San Francisco Giants 1: Shutout streak ends … quickly

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For the record, the San Francisco Giants’ shutout streak lasted 36 innings, 60 feet, five inches.

The Reds’ Zach Cozart smacked the first pitch of the game from Matt Cain into the left-field bleachers, ending the Giants’ streak of four consecutive shutouts.

The Reds would go on to add two more runs in the inning as Matt Cain struggled in his first home start since his perfect game on June 6.

He would later give up a home run to Reds pitcher Mike Leake, the first home run Cain has allowed to an opposing pitcher in his career. Cain finished with five earned runs on 11 hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven.

“I’m just sad I didn’t keep it going,” Cain said. “I wanted to follow (Madison Bumgarner’s gem) up, and I didn’t do that.”

The Giants got their hits on Leake, smacking out nine hits. But they went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

But there are some silver linings in the loss:

  • Pablo Sandoval helped the Giants avert their fourth shutout loss of the season — and first to a National League club — with his one-out home run to right in the ninth inning. It was Sandoval’s first home run since coming off the disabled list earlier this month.
  • While the Giants avoided a shutout, the Dodgers did not, losing 9-0 to the Mets. So the Giants retained their one-game lead in the NL West.

UP NEXT

Barry Zito tries to build off his outstanding start on Monday when San Francisco faces Giant-villain Mat Latos in a 1:05 p.m. start Saturday.

San Francisco Giants 5, Los Angeles Angels 3: Matt Cain’s encore performance includes Late Night appearance

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So apparently it’s OK for Matt Cain to hit a golf ball into the bay as part of his pre-game preparations.

Doing a comedy bit for late night television doesn’t work as well.

But at least both pre-game activities produced wins.

On Monday afternoon, Cain recorded the Top 10 List for Light Night with David Letterman. Then Monday night, he posted his ninth win of the season, beating the Angels 5-3.

Cain labored through five innings, leaving after throwing 100 pitches and a 4-3 lead. He gave up three runs on six hits and four walks. He also struck out four.

The Giants added a fifth run in the top of the sixth. Then relief pitchers Shane Loux, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affedlt and Santiago Casilla combined for four perfect innings to complete the win.

Not the best Cain effort. Not even a quality start, as he only threw five innings. But with some timely hitting and solid relief, it was a win.

Last week, with the U.S. Open being held in San Francisco, Cain got permission to hit a golf drive into McCovey Cove prior to his start against the Astros. Then he went out and threw a perfect game.

The perfecto led Cain, who was voted NL Player of the Week, to record a spot for Late Night. To watch Cain’s appearance on Late Night, click here.

If you want to just read Matt Cain’s Top Ten Things I Want To Achieve Now That I’ve Thrown a Perfect Game, here they are:

  • No. 10 … Throw a perfect game with my other arm.
  • No. 9 … Convert the mound into an organic vegetable garden.
  • No. 8 … Discover a cure for groin pulls.
  • No. 7 … Open my dream salon.
  • No. 6 …. Catch a line drive with my mouth.
  • No. 5 … Fix the economy … just kidding. That’s impossible.
  • No. 4 … Pitch an inning without my pants.
  • No. 3 … Appear on Jay Leno’s “Ten at Ten.”
  • No. 2 …. Throw a hole-in-one
  • No. 1 … Win the contest to replace Regis Philbin

UP NEXT

Barry Zito faces C.J. Wilson at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday in Anaheim. With the way Zito has been throwing lately and how Wilson has pitched this season, expectations are a bit low for the Giants. But since they are coming off a loss when Madison Bumgarner pitched (and pitched well), the Giants need to counter that by winning a game that Zito starts.

San Francisco Giants 10, Houston Astros 0: A most perfect night for Matt Cain and the Giants franchise

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On Tuesday, Madison Bumgarner became the third pitcher in Giants history (since 1900) to hit a home run and strikeout 12-or-more in the same game, joining Juan Marichal and Mike Krukow.

Top that, Matt Cain.

OK, fine.

Cain became the 22nd pitcher in MLB history and the first in the long storied history of the Giants franchise to throw a perfect game as he retired 27 consecutive Astros on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

It was a historic night on many occasions.

  • The 125-pitch outing was the most pitches thrown in a perfect game.
  • That’s because Cain also struck out a career-high 14 batters. Cain tied Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts in a perfect game.
  • The 2 hour and 36 minute game was the second longest perfect game history, trailing only David Wells’ perfecto in 1998, which took 2:40.
  • And the 10 runs of support the Giants provided Cain were the most runs scored by the winning team in a perfect game. In fact, the 10 runs were more that what the winning teams scored in the previous five National League perfect games combined.

In every no-hitter or perfect game, there are pivotal plays to keep the performance intact.

The first occurred in fourth inning, when Jordan Schafer hit a one-hopper down the first-base line. Replays appeared to show the ball kicking up some chalk about a foot in front of the first base bag. That doesn’t necessarily mean the ball was fair, but it does show how narrowly foul it was (if it was actually foul at all).

First base umpire Mike Muchlinski appeared to flinch, as if he were about to point and call the ball fair before raising his hands and calling it foul.

“There’s not really a good replay that shows anything, but I thought it was fair,” Shafer said. “Just the way it works.”

Houston manager Brad Mills came out to debate the ball.

That was the closest the Astros came to getting a hit … until the sixth inning.

That’s when, with one out, Chris Snyder hit a ball that off the crack of the bat looked like it would be long gone for a home run. But the thick bay air knocked the ball down enough to allow Melky Cabrera to make a catch up in front of the left-field wall.

Then, leading off the seventh, it was Schafer again. Schafer smacked a drive deep into triples alley that right fielder Gregor Blanco raced after and made a diving catch at the warning track to keep the perfecto going.

From there, it was pretty much all Cain.

He got J.D. Martinez to ground out to Joaquin Arias at third in the eighth, with Arias making a nice play on a slow roller. Brett Wallace struck out for K No. 14, and Chris Johnson grounded out to short.

In the ninth, Brian Bogusevic flied out to Cabrera in foul territory. Snyder flied out to Cabrera for out No. 2. Then Jason Castro grounded to deep third with Arias making the strong throw to first for the final out.

And the celebration was on. The Giants spilled out of the dugout as Buster Posey lifted Cain with a bear hug. After the initial mob scene, Cain spent time sharing congratulatory hugs with every teammate. Then Cain hoisted Gregor Blanco with an extra hug of thanks.

Ten runs scored for the Giants. Three home runs for the Giants (Cabrera, Brandon Belt and Blanco). A perfect game from Matt Cain. Could the night get any better than that?

Oh yeah, the Dodgers lost, too.

Perfect.

San Francisco Giants 2, Chicago Cubs 1: Dead-ball era brought back to life

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The San Francisco Giants turned back the clock to 1912 on Saturday, figuratively and literally.

The Giants and Cubs broke out the 1912 uniforms to commemorate the four-year anniversary of the Cubs’ last World Series (which they shouldn’t have actually won … see Fred Merkle).

Then the Giants won a game in dead-ball fashion, scoring both runs with the benefit of an RBI hit.

The Giants loaded the bases in the sixth on singles by Ryan Theriot, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan. Then scored on a walk by Aubrey Huff and an infield forceout by Joaquin Arias.

The rest of the work was done by Matt Cain.

Cain had a rough moment in the fourth, giving up a two-out solo home run to David DeJesus followed by a double to Alfonso Soriano.

In his other seven innings of work, he limited the Cubs to three hits and two walks in eight innings, throwing 117 pitches.

Three of the Giants’ six hits came in that sixth inning. Cain had one of the remaining three hits. The walk to Huff was the Giants’ lone walk in the game.

Giants pitching have shutout the Cubs so far this series when they’ve kept the ball in the yard.

UP NEXT

The Giants hope to break out offensively when Barry Zito faces Travis Wood at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The game will be carried live on WGN.

San Francisco Giants 4, Milwaukee Brewers 3, 11 inn: Win for Giants, but not Matt Cain

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The Giants escaped with a needed win Sunday to salvage a 4-5 homestand before opening a six-game road trip to Los Angeles and Arizona.

What they couldn’t do was get Matt Cain a win.

Cain did his part, limiting the Brewers to two runs on six hits and a walk in seven solid innings of work. He left with a 3-2 lead, but the bullpen and more precisely the defense let him down in the ninth.

Santiago Casilla was charged with his first blown save of the season, although it should have been charged to the defense as the lone run Casilla allowed was unearned.

It all started with an error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie on a ball hit by Corey Hart to open the inning. Casilla got the next batters out before Travis Ishikawa tied the game with a run-scoring double.

Well, that’s how it read in the scoreboard. In real life, Angel Pagan took a bad line to the fly ball to left center and could not catch up with a ball slicing away from him. Then Melky Cabrera did not get over in time to cut off the ball for a single and keep Hart from scoring.

But the Giants earned the win in the 11th after Buster Posey led off with a single and went to second on Pagan’s sacrifice. Brandon Belt was intentionally walked, then Ryan Theriot was unintentionally walked to load the bases.

Then with the Brewers using a five-infielder, two-outfielder set with the speedy Emmanuel Burriss, now pinch running for Posey, at third, Hector Sanchez slapped a 3-2 pitch into left for the game winner.

For Cain, that is five consecutive quality starts after the season-opening hiccup in Arizona. Yet he has a 1-2 mark over those five starts, despite a 1.61 ERA.

Par for the course for Cain.

OTHER NOTES

  • Angel Pagan went 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.
  • For the second consecutive game, the Giants went 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
  • SS Brandon Crawford return to the lineup after two games off to clear his head. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, but he DID NOT commit an error.

UP NEXT

The Giants and Dodgers tangle for the first time this season when Barry Zito faces Ted Lilly at 7:10 p.m. Monday in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, it’s Ryan Vogelsong vs. Clayton Kershaw, 7:10 p.m. on MLB Network

On Wednesday, it’s Tim Lincecum vs. Chad Billingsley, 7:10 p.m.

Miami Marlins 2, San Francisco Giants 1: Does Bruce Bochy really look at the numbers?

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San Francisco Giants were looking for someone to take the blame for Tuesday’s loss to the Marlins.

They looked at first-base umpire Jerry Meals. Meals called Ryan Theriot’s grounder down the first-base line foul when replays appeared to indicate that the ball bounced right over the first-base bag and down into the right-field corner.

But you can’t blame Meals when you can’t guarantee that Theriot would have eventually scored from second with two-out in the ninth.

Matt Cain tried to take the blame — as he often does.

“I made a couple more mistakes than (Ricky Nolasco) did,” Cain said.

No, you didn’t, Matty.

Cain gave up a laser of a home run to left to Giancarlo Stanton.

Nolasco gave up a laser of a home run to right to Pablo Sandoval.

The only difference is the Marlins were able to get a runner home from second with one out, and the Giants weren’t able to get a runner home from third with no outs.

So the question is: Does Bruce Bochy carry some of the blame for the loss?

We all know Bochy likes to play matchups, likes to play the numbers … with his lineups, with his pinch-hitting choice, his double switches.

But maybe he should have looked at the numbers before making decisions in the bottom of the eighth.

Now I know the book says when you have runners at first and third and no outs, with your Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters coming up, you let them swing away.

But the numbers says something else.

The Giants came into Tuesday’s game hitting .193 with runners in scoring position. And your No. 2 and No. 4 hitters were part of that problem.

Melky Cabrera (No. 2) is hitting .217 with RISP. Buster Posey (No. 4) is hitting .222. Only Sandoval (.292) has solid numbers in that situation this season. And as it turned out, he never got to hit.

So the question then becomes: Was a squeeze play in order with Cabrera at the plate?

Given the Giants’ troubles in this position, getting that runner home from third was paramount. And the situation was prime for it.

You had speed at third in Gregor Blanco, and a good bunter at the plate in Cabrera.

Cabrera has 35 sacrifice bunts in his career and a 78 percent bunt percentage.

If played right, the Giants could have a 2-2 game with one out, Angel Pagan at second and Sandoval and Posey still to bat.

This wasn’t the fifth inning. It was the bottom of the eighth. We weren’t lucking for a big inning. We were looking for a run, possible two to take the lead.

Instead, the Giants got nothing.

Cabrera bounced a slow chopper to first, with Blanco holding at third and Pagan taking second. One out.

That took the bat out of the hands of Sandoval, who was intentionally walked.

Posey then came up, got ahead of the count, but eventually bounced a custom-made 4-6-3 double play.

UP NEXT

Barry Zito faces Carlos Zambrano in the second game of the series at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. It led Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com to wonder how many times two pitchers with the last name that starts with a Z have faced each other. The answer is four times: Carlos Zambrano vs. Victor Zambrano in 2005, Zito vs. Carlos Zambrano in 2004 and Zito vs. Victor Zambrano in 2003. Also Paul Zahniser of the Red Sox faced Tom Zachary of the Senators in 1925. But there has never been a matchup of two Z’s who make a combined $37 million.

San Francisco Giants 1, Philadelphia Phillies 0: It’s Matt Cain, again

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When the Giants put runners on first and third with nobody out in the first inning, and then didn’t score, I was sure that was going to come back and haunt them.

In one way it did. It kept Matt Cain from recording his second consecutive shutout victory.

But thanks to Cain and a solid effort from the bullpen, it didn’t. The Giants kept the Phillies off the board too, allowing them to win in the 11th on an RBI single by Melky Cabrera.

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain throws to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

However, the real story on this night was Cain vs. Cliff Lee.

Matt Cain’s numbers:

  • 9 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4K, 91 pitches, 64 strikes.

Cliff Lee’s numbers

  • 10 IP, 7 hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 102 pitches, 81 strikes

“I haven’t seen two pitchers pitch that well. What a matchup,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Terrific game by two guys that hooked horns and neither one was giving in.”

It actually looked like the Giants would get to Lee early when Angel Pagan led off the game with a clean single to center. Cabrera followed with a bloop single to right, allowing Pagan to reach third.

But Pablo Sandoval followed with a fly to right too shallow to score Pagan, and then Lee got out of the jam by getting Buster Posey to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

Now, you can’t blame Bochy for not playing for one run in the first inning. But you could in the fifth when it was evident that both pitchers were dealing.

In the fifth, Brett Pill led off with a double that one-hopped over the center-field fence. But with Ryan Theriot up next, Bochy did not have Theriot try to bunt Pill to third.

Instead, Theriot grounded to shortstop, forcing Pill to hold a second. Then Nate Schierholtz came up, and grounded to shortstop, forcing Pill to hold a second. And Brandon Crawford ended the inning by, you guessed it, grounding to short.

Those outs were the first three of 12 consecutive batters that Lee set down.

“I had a good changeup and I was throwing my curveballs for strikes,” Lee said. “I don’t usually do both in the same game. When things are going well, I try to work fast. I try to keep a good pace. Everybody likes that. I was told I was don after nine (innings), but I said I could easily pitch another inning. I tried it again after 10, but it didn’t happen.”

Good thing, too. Because after Lee got out of jams in the 9th and 10th by inducing double-play grounders, Antonio Bastardo came into pitch the 11th.

After Crawford opened the inning by striking out, Brandon Belt singled to center. Belt took second on third baseman Ty Wigginton’s error on an Angel Pagan grounder. Then Cabrera lined a sharp single to right to score Belt.

On the winning play, Belt broke at the crack of the bat, even though Cabrera’s line sailed just over the reach of leaping second baseman Freddy Galvis.

With that jump Belt, easily beat Hunter Pence’s throw home. Without that jump, he might have been out at the plate.

“I was hoping (it was a hit),” Belt said. “Thank goodness it was because if it wasn’t I was going to be in some big trouble. Off the bat, it looked like it was easily a base hit to me. And I wanted to end the game right there.”

Belt’s instincts gave the Giants a 4-2 homestead and evened their season record at 6-6.

UP NEXT

The Giants get a day off Thursday before opening a seven-game homestead in New York against the Mets on Friday. Barry Zito faces Jonathan Niese in a 4:10 p.m. game Friday.