Giants

Instant Replay: Cain does it all as Giants down D'backs

Instant Replay: Cain does it all as Giants down D'backs

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Before Wednesday’s game, manager Bruce Bochy again talked about the possibility of skipping his No. 5 starter next week when the Giants have two off days. Not so fast, Matt Cain said. 

The longest-tenured Giant had a throwback performance, allowing just one run in five innings and scoring the first Giants run of the night. The bullpen was brilliant as the rain came and the Giants piled on late, pulling away with a 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks. The series win was the first of the season, and it gave Cain his first victory since August 6.

Cain’s second pitch of the night was smoked for a triple by A.J. Pollock, who promptly strolled home on a sacrifice fly. Cain would walk two in that inning, but once he got out of the first, he found a groove. After a leadoff single in the second, Cain retired 11 of 12, six going down on strikeouts. David Peralta hit a two-out single ahead of Paul Goldschmidt in the fifth, but Cain got the dangerous first baseman to ground out to third. 

At that point, it looked like this would be a good old-fashioned Caining. The Giants changed that in the bottom of the fifth, and Cain was the one to provide the first charge. He roped a double to left and raced home when Pollock got a poor initial grip on Denard Span’s single to center. After a walk of Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence took an awkward stab at the ball and poked an RBI single to right. Conor Gillaspie’s single made it 3-1. 

Cain’s night wouldn’t last much longer. When the first two Diamondbacks reached in the top of the sixth, Bruce Bochy came out with the hook. Cory Gearrin entered and struck out three straight, all swinging, to put a bow on Cain’s solid night. 

The wind kept the Giants in the park in the seventh, but it didn’t keep them off the scoreboard. Nick Hundley and Jarrett Parker both crushed balls that would have been homers during a day game, and instead turned into extra-base hits that sparked a three-run rally. 

Starting pitching report: Cain was charged with one run in five-plus innings. He had just three starts last season of at least 15 outs and fewer than two runs. 

Bullpen report: The Giants optioned Steven Okert to Triple-A because they wanted to keep Gearrin and Neil Ramirez. So far, those two have 12 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. 

At the plate: Cain was the most dangerous hitter on staff for years, but he was just 2-for-43 the last two seasons. The double left his bat at 106 mph. 

In the field: George Kontos, owner of many pairs of Jordans, made a leaping grab to snag a bouncer and end the seventh.

Attendance: Before the game, the 492nd consecutive announced sellout crowd cheered a Gold Glove ceremony. 

Up next: The Giants get their first look at the Rockies, a dark-horse pick to make noise in the division. The series opener is Madison Bumgarner vs. Jon Gray. 

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

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AP

Giants hire David Bell to fill key front office role

SAN FRANCISCO -- A familiar face is returning to the Giants organization to serve a key front office role.

The Giants announced Friday that David Bell, their former third baseman, has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. General manager Bobby Evans said Bell will oversee all aspects of player development, including hitting, pitching, strength and conditioning and the operations of the minor league affiliates. 

"He was the perfect fit," Evans said. "His experience is so strong and encompasses so many aspects of the game. He’s got a really strong base of experience and background and understanding of the game, and he has a passion for the game and working with young players. He really showed a desire to pursue this opportunity." 

Bell, 45, played 12 major league seasons and spent 2002 with the Giants. He hit 20 homers that year as the starting third baseman and scored the winning run in the final game of the NLCS. Since retiring, Bell has served as a minor league manager for the Reds and a big league coach for the Cubs and Cardinals. He spent last season as the bench coach in St. Louis. 

Shane Turner had previously served as farm director, but at the end of the minor league season he was asked to take a role as a special assistant in baseball operations. While Evans did not announce any other changes Friday, there are expected to be other moves within the organization's depth chart. At least one member of the coaching staff is still in the running for a managerial opening. 

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

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AP

Dusty Baker won't be remembered the way he should be remembered

Firing a manager is easy, and there are lots of ways to do it.

Dusty Baker, for example. He worked this year on the last year of a contract, which usually means there won’t be another one, and he relied on his players to deliver the goods.

Which, as we remember from our reading, they didn’t do. Again.

But Baker was marked for the chop unless those players did deliver, and when they didn’t, general manager Mike Rizzo did the expedient thing.

He fired one person rather than several. And changed exactly nothing.

Baker’s managerial career is probably over now, as most teams don’t look at 68-year-olds to fix their teams. He will never manage a  World Series champion, something he ached for, and he was always be caricatured in part as the guy who didn’t speak metric, and who believed in players as men whenever in doubt.

And the Nats didn’t betray him, either. They were always not as good in the big moments because someone else was, and they became part of Washington’s new fetish – Why Can’t We Win One? It’s as if having a cringeworthy President isn’t good enough for them.

So the time came, and he will be replaced by someone who will either win and get credit for work that was largely his, or he won’t win and the town can continue to wallow in its tedious We’re-The-New-Cubs pity. It is the circle of life.

At least it is for groups of people. For individuals, the circle of life is actually nothing more than a straight line that ends abruptly. For Dusty Baker, as it did for Tony La Russa in Phoenix two days earlier, that day came today. He deserves to be remembered as a very good manager who won a lot more than he lost, made more friends than enemies, and was honest from Day One until the end.

Which, as we also know, doesn’t matter a whole lot on days like this.