March 28, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Aubrey Huff showed off the power stroke that made him San Francisco's home run leader last year. Matt Cain, well, he was just his usual solid self.Cain walked off the mound to a standing ovation from an adoring crowd that hasn't seen the San Francisco Giants play at home since their improbable World Series run last fall. The others generated their fair share of cheers, too.Cain looked strong over 5 1-3 innings Monday night in his final tuneup for the regular season, striking out six and walking one in a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the annual preseason edition of the Bay Bridge Series."The last time here, walking off in the eighth against Texas, that felt good just to get that big ovation," Cain said of the World Series. "The fans are ready for the regular season to start back up again." CHAT: Wendy's Chat with MLB Insider Mychael Urban at 10 a.m.
Huff hit a go-ahead homer in the fifth for San Francisco, his team-leading sixth of the spring. Pat Burrell, one of those "castoffs and misfits" who helped lead the Giants to their first championship since moving West in 1958, hit a two-run double in the third.The Giants and A's returned home from spring training in the Arizona desert to welcome blue skies in the Bay Area after close to two weeks of heavy rain. The teams play three times before the Giants open defense of their title Thursday against the rival Dodgers in Los Angeles. Oakland kicks off 2011 a day later at home against the Seattle Mariners.San Francisco was greeted by 38,320 enthusiastic fans in its first game at its cozy waterfront ballpark since beating the AL champion Rangers in Game 5 at Texas to secure the title."It was definitely good to be back. The last week of spring training in Arizona was starting to be pretty monotonous, we were starting to play pretty bad," Huff said. "We were beating people the first few weeks. We started to get a little lackadaisical there toward the end. We're ready to go."Cain, the Giants' No. 3 starter and 13-game winner last season, threw 88 pitches and recorded 1-2-3 innings in the first, third and fourth. Sergio Romo pitched the ninth for the save."Great job by Matty," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got some good work in and got deep in the game. He had good stuff."Oakland's Daric Barton hit a two-out, two-run single in the top of the fifth to tie it at 3. Huff answered in the bottom half with a drive over the right-field arcade to the pathway below.New A's slugger Hideki Matsui sat most of this one out on a cool, breezy night, before popping up foul to a hustling, slimmed-down third baseman Pablo Sandoval in front of the Giants' bullpen mound for the final out. Manager Bob Geren said Matsui is scheduled to start at designated hitter the next two games after the Giants agreed to using the DH.Bochy went almost with what he expects to use for an opening-day lineup, though top prospect Brandon Belt started at first and batted seventh. He is likely to start at Triple-A Fresno.Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey received a rousing ovation when he stepped in to hit in the first inning.New San Francisco shortstop Miguel Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP with the A's, loved the atmosphere."That's great, man," he said. "That's what happens when you win it."Brett Anderson struck out six and walked two over seven innings in taking the loss. He threw 92 pitches.The A's, considered a potential contender in the AL West this year, lost their fourth straight exhibition game and fifth in six. Oakland had won the previous two spring meetings this year, both played in Arizona."I got what I needed to out of (spring)," Anderson said. "I was calm and collected. I know what I have to do to put up the numbers."NOTES: Injured Giants closer Brian Wilson, the majors' saves leader last year with 48, stayed behind in Arizona to rehabilitate a strained left side muscle that could keep him from being ready by Thursday's opener at Dodger Stadium. Wilson is scheduled to throw a short bullpen session Tuesday but Bochy said it's "less than 50-50" that Wilson will be available. ... A's closer Andrew Bailey, the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year who is nursing a strained forearm, made about 25 throws Sunday from as far out as 60 feet. He is slated to play catch again Wednesday and extend his distance and output as long as he feels fine to do so. ... The Giants are in a stretch with 12 straight games before Monday's off day in San Diego. ... A's LF Josh Willingham, who bruised his right foot fouling off a pitch Saturday, was fine after an 0-for-2 outing.
March 28, 2011