Giants Insider notes: Cain deals with pain


Giants Insider notes: Cain deals with pain

May 12, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' intense 3-2 victory over the visiting Diamondbacks on Thursday in the finale of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.Cain deals with pain: Giants right-hander Matt Cain did plenty with his arm to help close out the 6-0 homestand, scattering six hits and a walk while striking out seven over 7 23 innings to pick up his first win since April 20 and extend San Francisco's season-best wining streak to six games in front of the team's 15th sellout crowd in 15 home games this year. What he did with his bat in the seventh inning was nearly as impressive, dropping down a gorgeous sacrifice bunt almost immediately after taking a fastball from Arizona starter Daniel Hudson off his left handoff what was ruled a foul ball. It set up the second run of the game during a two-run insurance inning that proved huge.
RECAP: Cain masterful, Giants sweep again
Giving it up: Cain took a little good-natured ribbing for not acknowledging the standing ovation he received while walking off the mound after his superlative start at AT&T during last year's World Series, but his reasoning was in keeping with his team-first attitude. There were runners on base at the time, he explained, so tipping his cap wouldn't have felt quite right. "I feel kind of bad about it now, though," he said during spring training. He got two standing-O's on Thursday, the first after his bunt and the second while walking to the dugout after being removed from the game with two out in the bottom of the eighth, and although there were runners at the corner when he left the game, Cain did, in fact, doff his cap right before hitting the dugout steps. Don't expect to see it again, though -- both runners ended up scoring to quickly drain the park of the overflowing good vibes.Making his mark: Eli Whiteside, in his seventh start of the season behind the plate, has great respect among the team's pitchers for his game-calling ability, and he and Cain appeared to be on the same page all day. Far less heralded for his offensive prowess, Whiteside nevertheless seems to have a knack for impacting the few games in which he participates. His contributions Thursday included a pair of doubles, the second of which opened the bottom of the seventh to ignite the rally that iced the affair.Chink in the armor: While it wasn't charged with a run, extending its streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 22 13 innings over the past nine games, the Giants bullpen wasn't as lights-out as it's been of late. Lefty Jeremy Affeldt took over for Cain and allowed an inherited runner to score on an infield single by the only batter he faced, and Ramon Ramirez took over for Affeldt and allowed another inherited runner to score on a single to left by the first batter he faced. With closer Brian Wilson unavailable after working in all five of the Giants' previous games, Sergio Romo started the top of the ninth but gave up a single to the only batter he faced and Javier Lopez gave up a single to the second batter he faced to put runners at the corners with one out before striking out the next two Snakes to lock down his first save of the season.DeRosa's 'D': Given his second start at third base in three games since coming off the disabled list, Mark DeRosa showed off the athleticism that made him a two-sport star at Penn of the Ivy League -- he was the football team's starting quarterback -- with one of the best defensive plays of game. With one out in the second inning, DeRosa charged a bunt off the bat of Ryan Roberts, made a bare-handed pickup and threw an off-balance dart across his body, with all of his momentum heading toward home plate, to nail Roberts by a half-step at first base.Sudden impact: DeRosa's defensive gem was trumped an inning later when right fielder Nate Schierholtz, who in the bottom of the second put the Giants on the scoreboard with an RBI single that snapped him out of a 1-for-10 homestead slide, expertly played Gerardo Parra's drive to the base of the wall in right-center by making a clean pickup and wheeling to fire a one-hop strike to second base that required virtually no movement of shortstop Miguel Tejada's glove and beat Parra to the bag by mere inches. Tejada likely bought those inches when he lulled Parra into cruise control by nonchalantly loitering at the bag as if Schierholtz had no shot. Bochy on Buster: While hanging out in an otherwise deserted dugout about 40 minutes before Thursday's first pitch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy chuckled when I asked if he ever suffered a concussion during his career as a big-league catcher; the topic is timely because Buster Posey took a couple of shots to the mask Wednesday, left the game for precautionary reasons and, despite having passed concussion "tests" administered by the Giants' medical staff, was held out of Thursday's starting lineup. Bochy, who noted that Posey likely would have gotten the day off even without the skull scare, was never diagnosed with a concussion as a player and theorized that (a) it might take a wrecking ball to do any real damage to his famously huge melon, and (b) "They probably wouldn't have been able to tell anything was different because I was never all that quick on the uptake to begin with."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs


Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”