San Francisco Giants battle back late, come up short against the Cubs


Aug 8, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher

Matt Cain

(18) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

I’m waiting for Ashton Kutcher to tell us we’ve been punk’d. Or Allen Funt to say “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” Because this has to be a joke. A very bad, very tasteless joke. It’s not funny. I am so NOT laughing.

The Giants pitching is doing us in. I guess it’s their turn. Remember when we all complained because our pitchers were out there doing their job, but they weren’t getting the run support?

The hitters are doing their job. The defense is really good. But the pitchers‒not so much.

Saturday’s game was a glaring example.

Matt Cain, the Horse, was on the mound for the Giants for Saturday’s game. Used to be, when the Horse was on the mound, odds were in the Giants favor. But Saturday was miserable. Reminds me of the old joke…

A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “why the long face?” No? Aww c’mon,  we have to have something to laugh about.

We can’t blame Cain’s performance Saturday on spot starting; or that he’s just getting settled in after a stint on the DL‒he made his season debut on July 2nd; or on an injury‒unless he’s playing through the pain like before. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that would prevent Cain from making his pitches. Since coming off the DL he’s only come close to his former self two times in six starts (Saturday was his seventh).

Saturday’s game, though, was in a class all by itself.

Cain made his big league debut on August 29, 2005 and ten days later, he pitched his first complete big league game. Against who else? Well, the Chicago Cubs, of course. He allowed just one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out eight. Not bad for a kid just up from the minors.

Each year, it seems, he pitched better and better, improving his stats until 2013. Things started to slide and didn’t stop until he admitted he had a problem with his elbow and had season-ending surgery. What’s preventing Cain from returning to his former glory? I don’t know. But I wish he would. I’ve been a big-time Cain fan from day one.

Saturday’s game was Cain’s worst outing by far. He was handing out free bases like they were Halloween candy and the Cubs were trick-or-treaters. He pitched four innings and faced two more batters in the fifth. He allowed five runs on six hits, five walks and he hit two batters with a pitch. Trouble is, he wasn’t the only one.

George Kontos‒who allowed two of Cain’s base runners to score‒and Hunter Strickland were brought in to eat up a couple of innings, and then Bruce Bochy handed the ball to Santiago Casilla to finish the game.

Casilla pitched one-third of an inning and allowed three more Cubs to score runs on two hits and a walk. I figured that sealed the deal.

The Giants had three runs going into the ninth. They scored two in the second when Brandon Belt hit a big fly with Hunter Pence on board, and one in the fourth when Brandon Crawford drove Pence home on a double off the wall.

Just when BFF Vickie and I declared the game over, the Giants reached deep into their bag of tricks and brought out some hits. Remember the old saying: it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings? We should have known better, she wasn’t even humming.

Crawford singled and Ehire Adrianza scored him with a double; Angel Pagan‒look who’s bat woke up!‒drove Adrianza home with a single to right field; Nori Aoki plated Pagan with a base hit. The tying run was at the plate when the Giants ran out of gas. The final score was: Giants 6, Cubs 8

The fat lady was singing, but it was the wrong song. And she was off-key.