Cain says he'd be pumped to start home opener

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Cain says he'd be pumped to start home opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the Giants skip Ryan Vogelsong's first turn through the rotation, then Matt Cain would receive the game ball and the starting assignment for the Giants' home opener April 13 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It would be fitting, given what the fan base thinks of him -- and that this could be his last season as a Giant.

Whether he signs a lucrative long-term extension before the opener or not, a wide-eyed Cain said he'd relish the honor.

"That's what's great about our park," Cain said. "The fans are there every day. Even weekday games, it's a packed house. They love baseball and it's shown with ... the attendance."

Cain will be a free agent after this season and prefers not to let negotiations for an extension leak past opening day. He hasn't started a season opener as a Giant, but he's gotten the home opener once -- in 2008, when he was beaten 8-4 by the San Diego Padres and Greg Maddux.

"The first time I did it, it was a little intense," Cain said. "You're not used to all that extra stuff that goes on. You have to give yourself extra time."

Cain has some experience with that, though. Last year, he started the second home game -- which was preceded by the World Series rings ceremony.

Cain got one step closer to the regular season by throwing five shutout innings against an Oakland A's Triple-A squad at Indian School Park on Monday. While the rest of their teammates enjoyed their only day off on the Cactus League Schedule, Cain threw to Hector Sanchez and pitched around some hard contact while throwing strikes.

He allowed four hits (three doubles), struck out four and didn't walk a batter. Cain gave up consecutive doubles in the fourth inning, but remarkably, the A's failed to score. Heavy legged catcher Derek Norris, who also doubled off Tim Lincecum two days earlier, got a bad read and ended up getting thrown out at the plate on a strong relay from center fielder Francisco Peguero to second baseman Charlie Culberson to Sanchez at the plate. The catcher blocked the plate as Norris awkwardly slidbumped into him, then finally picked up the ball on the dirt and tagged him out.

"I think it caught both of those guys off guard," said Cain, who appreciated Sanchez's efforts.

Cain said he threw all his pitches and approached the start like he was trying to get outs rather than work on specific locations.

"The last start, I wasn't throwing in to lefties that well," he said. "Today, it was better."

Tim Lincecum is scheduled to start the Giants' season opener April 6 at Arizona -- his fourth consecutive opening-day assignment. Barry Zito started the season openers in 2007 and '08 and Jason Schmidt held that honor before that.

Vogelsong is building arm strength after missing time because of a strained lower back; the Giants have a day off in the middle of their season-opening road trip to Arizona and Colorado, so they could get by with four starters until the ninth game of the season, on April 15.

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers has had his way with the San Francisco Giants, and so has San Diego.

Oh how this rivalry has shifted - not to mention Myers' power stroke at AT&T Park, where he has already cleared the fences five times this season.

He decided to embrace the ballpark's challenging conditions and typical chilly temperatures coming off the bay.

Myers homered for a career-best third straight game against San Francisco, Jabari Blash hit a go-ahead two-run double in the decisive fourth to back Dinelson Lamet, and the San Diego Padres beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

"One of the big things is just actually wanting to come here to play. Last year I kind of dreaded coming here because it's a pitcher's ballpark and they have great pitchers," Myers said. "One thing I did this year was just got excited to play here. It's the mindset you got to have if you want to play well."

Lamet (4-4) struck out six pitching into the seventh in his 10th big league start and sixth on the road. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his outings.

San Diego hit three straight doubles in the fourth and four consecutive hits in all against lefty Ty Blach (6-6), who is yet to beat the Padres in three career starts.

Hector Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the fourth against his former and Cory Spangenberg hit an RBI single.

Myers clobbered a 3-2 pitch for his 20th home run with two outs in the first. The Giants tied it in the bottom half when Buster Posey's RBI single scored Denard Span, who doubled leading off the inning.

"A couple bad pitches they ambushed me early in the count," Blach said. "It's frustrating when you're rolling like that you can't make adjustments quick enough."

Lamet surrendered eight hits and two runs and walked a batter in 6 2/3 innings as the teams finished after nine innings following extra-inning games the previous two days. Brad Hand, San Diego's third reliever, finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

Sanchez had a season-best three hits Friday and finished this series 5-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs. He is a career .464 hitter (13 for 28) with five homers and 14 RBIs against San Francisco, which hasn't won a series with the Padres since May 2016.

The Giants had won the past three starts by Blach, who allowed five runs on eight hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one after winning his last two decisions.

San Diego has won seven of the last nine meetings in the rivalry, currently featuring the two bottom teams in the NL West.

"We still have a ton of respect for who they are, the players on the field and what they've done," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We know at any point in time they could go reel off 10 or 12 and have a great run. We don't want that to start on us."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: 2B Yangervis Solarte, a switch-hitter sidelined by a strained left oblique muscle, is set to begin swinging from the right side Monday. The left side hasn't been a problem. ... RHP Craig Stammen is still two or three days away from pitching after he strained a hamstring, Green said. ... OF Travis Jankowski's rehab will be extensive, with him staying with Triple-A El Paso through the month as he nurses a bruised bone in his right foot. ... LF Jose Pirela got a break.

Giants: Closer Mark Melancon threw all of his pitches in a mound session as he works back from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. "Now it's a matter how he comes out of it," manager Bruce Bochy said. Melancon is likely to need another two or three weeks and the Giants have no target date for his return. The reliever could face hitters within a week. ... RHP Johnny Cueto, who landed on the DL with blisters on three fingers, played light catch. ... 2B Joe Panik had a day off.

UP NEXT:
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35 ERA) faces the Mets owning a 4.17 ERA against New York over his initial seven starts.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49) will try to avoid matching the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016 - when he pitches the series opener at home against Pittsburgh.

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

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USATSI

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

The Boston Red Sox have promoted Rafael Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket, manager John Farrell announced Sunday.

Devers will play his first game on Tuesday.

The third baseman has spent his 2017 season and Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA). With the Pawsox, Devers had a .324 batting average in 34 at-bats. He had 11 hits, one double, two homers and four RBIs.

The Sox have been unsettled at third base during the 2017 season, and released third baseman Pablo Sandoval Wedneday. Devin Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin and Brock Holt have rotated at third base throughout the season. However, the Sox optioned Lin to Pawtucket last week.

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