Cain's late granddad inspires desire to help needy


Cain's late granddad inspires desire to help needy

SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain learned so many important lessonsfrom his grandfather, Guy Miller, and gripping a curveball was just one ofthem.

Cains grandfather passed away in February, 12 years afterhe suffered a debilitating stroke. He required advanced care and resided inassisted living facility, which the family could afford.

But Cain and his wife, Chelsea, would wonder on occasion:What about the people who cant?

Thats why Project Open Hand is so important to us, saidCain, who was named the Giants nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, givento the major leaguer who best demonstrates represents the game of baseballthrough positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanshipand community involvement.

For so many people simple things in life are not so simplelater on. Even something as simple as delivering meals to people who need themcan make a difference.

Cain also devotes time and his endorsement to the GreaterBay Area chapter of Make-A Wish, Until Theres A Cure, the No H8 Campaign andthe Junior Giants program. Animal welfare is important to the Cains as well,which is why they volunteer for PAWS in San Francisco.

And two years ago, Cain was so moved by teammate JeremyAffeldts project to build an orphanage in Uganda that he signed on to help.The 10-house complex, each of which houses 10 children, opened earlier thisyear in the Gulu District not far from borders with war-torn Sudan and theDemocratic Republic of the Congo.

Affeldt, whose mission is to end human slavery andtrafficking, said many orphans are stolen or recruited to fight for the LordsResistance Army (LRA), led by demagogue and convicted war criminal Joseph Kony.

These kids could be killing people, Affeldt said. Manyof them have had their families shot and killed in front of them. Were tryingto give them a safe place where they can learn some life skills and just befree to play.

Said Cain: When I heard about it, I wanted to jump intothat. Especially now having (their daughter) Hartley, its put things inperspective and were getting involved in more childrens causes. If makingsure they have clean water, simple things like that, is something we can do, Iwant to do it.

Affeldt, the Giants Clemente nominee the previous twoseasons, was happy to see Cain recognized for his efforts in the community.

What he and Chelsea do, they do because they have a heartfor it, Affeldt said. Roberto Clementes vision is to help those in need.When Matt signed for the amount of money he signed for, I know he wasntthinking, This is for me. Its about providing for other people.

So Im very proud of him. You can be a great baseballplayer, but if youre not a good person, it really doesnt matter much. We allknow Cainer is a great person.

Affeldt is taking a speaking trip this winter to Korea(Korean women are the most commonly trafficked sex slaves in the world) andthen will visit a village in Thailand, where he financed the construction of abasketball court in a center for rescued children. Eventually, he wants tovisit Uganda, as does Cain.

Cain was stunned when he saw the movie, Machine GunPreacher, about an American crusader for exploited children in Sudan.

Thats a long way from where he grew up on the horse farmsoutside Memphis, Tenn. But because of the guidance he received growing up, he cares about whats happening halfway around the world

My granddad, and my dad, helped me learn to be a man,Cain said. They paved the way to help me become the person I am.

Fans can vote for the Clemente Award recipient of theirchoice at MLB.comClementeAward. The fan vote winner will receive one voteamong those cast by a selection panel. The recipient will be announced duringthe World Series.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs


CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.