It was slow to manifest, but as Melissa so graciously put it yesterday – Giants baseball is back. Behind solid defense and elite pitching, the Giants shut out the Pirates 5-0 in their home opening victory, improving their record to 3-4 before an obviously sold out crowd.
Cainer ‘Gon Cain – It was Cain’s third career one hitter and fifth career shutout, but this one might sting a bit when compared to the others as the lone baserunner came from opposing Pirates starter James McDonald off a shallow single in the 6th inning. But beyond the scrap hit, Cain was absolutely dominant – only reaching three, three ball counts on his way to 11K’s (12K is his career high) along with first pitch strikes to 19 of 28 hitters, capping a marvelous outing.
It’s no slight to Tim Lincecum, but, I’ve long petitioned that Cain is the best pitcher on the staff – certainly not the most flashy nor possessor of the most wicked stuff – but as a pure pitcher? Hard to argue with that. After his oddity of a start in Arizona, Cain returned to form and gave Giant fans a perfect home opener.
Offense Continues To Click – Thanks to an 8th inning homerun, the Giants once again broke the all important four run mark – today making the Giants seven out of seven in scoring four runs or more. How many times did the Giants do that last year, you ask? Once – early in the season when all their important bats (Posey, Sandoval, etc) were healthy. The Giants came into the game as the second highest scoring team in the National League and continued their early season march to lead the league in runs.
Huff Finally Comes Through – It’s about six games too late, but Aubrey Huff finally had his day – getting his first RBI’s of the season in the 5-0 victory as Huff accounted for three of those said runs; a two-run insurance homer in the 8th frame and a first inning RBI single (in which he was thrown out attempting to turn the single into a double). Given the solid day (along with Nate Schierholtz‘s), can’t image that will help Brandon Belt‘s case to remove the splinters from his rear end – but for a day, the Pilate loving, shirtless texting Huff shut the haters (me) up.
Notes – Buster Posey looked a bit rusty to start the year (and who wouldn’t), but it’s slowly starting to burn off as he blasted a monster RBI shot in the bottom of the first as the Giants fired the first shot of the game. Angel Pagan continued to struggle, going 0-4, dropping his average down to an embarrassing .111. It shouldn’t be long until you see Gregor Blanco getting some run in the spacious AT&T outfield until Pagan gets his swing right. Brandon Crawford was a defensive wizard again today, making a marvelous play on Andrew McCutchen along with fielding some funky hops, preserving Cain’s terrific start. Lastly, after fantastic festivities (celebrating the ’62 Giants, among more) to open the home season, the Giants had a very touching moment with Bryan Stow and family as his son, Tyler, accompanied by Jeremy Affeldt threw out the first pitch to this afternoons game. Better than that though, Bryan Stow appeared live on the Jumbotron accompanied by his Mother, in which Stow symbolically “handed” the ball to his son Tyler who tossed a seed to Tim Flannery before the game got underway. Tears all around. Hopefully we’ll see Bryan at a game soon.