Throwback look suits Cain perfectly in milestone win

782548.jpg

Throwback look suits Cain perfectly in milestone win

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO Matt Cain is too superstitious to tip hiscap, even to a thunderous ovation. He doesnt break focus for a single pitch.He is not what youd call a showman.

So it was a stunning bit of theater on Saturday when Cainbloused out his 1912 throwback uniform, raised his arms over his head, wound uplike a windmill and delivered a first pitch worthy of Dizzy Dean on Friday.

The first one? said Cain, grinning. I was trying to go alittle throwback there. I was thinking about it yesterday. Jake Peavy alwaysdid it in San Diego. So youre thinking, 'Well, I dont know.' But well, itsonly one pitch.

You might as well try to be in character a little bit. Soit was fun.

He threw a ball. Cain didnt throw many more.

Cain didnt stay in character by perishing of consumption ordoing anything too extreme. Hes not a method actor, even if the Giants offensehas provided dead-ball era run support for him over his career.

Call him conditioned to his time and place. Cain made threesingles, a bases-loaded walk and a ground out work for everyone while pitchingthe Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. For the first time allseason, the Giants are five games over .500.

And for the first time since he was a 22-year-old young buckwith a 17-17 record in 2007, Cain is at .500 for his career. Hes 75-75 afterstarting this season 6-2.

I guess it kind of stinks that its getting back to .500,but thats how it goes, said Cain, who claimed he wasnt even aware untilafter the game. I could care less what my record is, as long as we win.Getting back to .500 for my career, I dont worry about it.

Cain is a throwback in every sense. Perhaps thats why hewas in his white and navy uniform, pulling on those thick turn back thecentury socks, more than 90 minutes before the first pitch.

Yeah, it was funny, he said. Everybody was in uniform anhour, an hour and a half before the game to get comfortable. Its entertaining,definitely. Were a bunch of little kids in here.

I loved it. It was actually one of the most comfortablethrowback jerseys Ive ever worn. It wasnt heavy or uncomfortable.

Sergio Romo especially loved the sight of big MadisonBumgarner in that snow white uniform.

We called him Bum Ruth, the great Bum-bino, Romo said. Helooked so big in that uniform. We were having fun with it. He just fit themold.

And Romo, who always catches the ceremonial first pitch (anddont you love that about him?), got to receive the best fastball a 99-year-oldfan could muster. She was born in 1912.

She was smiling, laughing, Romo said. It was awesome.

Romo and Javier Lopez made sure the birds and bugs in thestands could head out to the cobblestones and trolleys in a good mood. It waspreordained that Cain would face just the first batter in the ninth, and hewalked Starlin Castro. But Lopez threw two pitches to record two outs, thanksto some deft fielding by third baseman Joaquin Arias as he started a doubleplay. And Romo threw three sliders to retire Alfonso Soriano.

It was the fourth career save for Romo. With SantiagoCasilla (bruised knee) out for the day and Brian Wilson (elbow surgery) out forthe season, Romo was effectively the man behind the man behind the man.

Yeah, I got an out in the ninth, Romo said. Its the sameas an out in the seventh or eighth. I guess its peace of mind for the staffand the front office that they put a pretty good pitching staff together.

Cain might have said it best: We all (in the rotation) feelwere No. 1-2 guys and all the guys in the bullpen feel theyre eighth-inning,ninth-inning guys.

That leaves the offense, and lets revisit that wholedead-ball thing. Incredibly, the club has hit just one home run in its lastSEVENTEEN home games (and thank Gregor Blanco for that surprising littleblast). Yet they are 10-7 over that span.

We scratched and clawed -- I guess a little like the 1912team, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. We didnt show much power but we founda way to get it done.

The first of Cains 215 career starts was a 2-1 game a lossto the Colorado Rockies. There have been 17 of them in his career. The Giantsare 9-8 and Cain has a 7-5 record in those starts.

Hes been so consistent and we needed it today, becausetheir guy was throwing the ball so well, Bochy said. Matty, hes amazing. Hejust keeps going and keeps competing so well.

Thats a quality that works in any uniform, in any era.

The first pitch, going over his head? That was awesome,said Romo, who apparently spent much of the game discussing the temporalissues.

What about the black and white Jumbotron? You cant tell methey had that back in the day. It makes you think what would they do, haveguys running around with huge posters?"

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P