Matt Cain's Giants career comes to an emotional, but fitting end

Matt Cain's Giants career comes to an emotional, but fitting end


SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain made his way through a crowded dugout, offering hugs to coaches who have watched him grow and players who have followed his lead. When he reached the end of the line, he found Madison Bumgarner, who will soon be the longest-tenured Giants pitcher at the age of 28.

Bumgarner wrapped Cain in a massive bear hug and lifted him off the ground as Cain ducked his head. It was the passing of a torch. It was also the end of an era. 

Cain made the 331st and final start of a 13-year career, and he went out the way he wanted. He threw five shutout innings against the Padres, striking out four and allowing just two hits in a game the Giants would blow twice and lose 3-2. 

The bullpen warmed up several times on a day when Cain’s pitch count was limited, but as he has done so many times, he dug deep and kept on going. When the final start was done, he received one last lengthy ovation from a crowd that watched him help build a dynasty. 

Cain has spent a career being stoic, and he held it together early on an emotional day. He received one pre-game standing ovation when he took the field at 12:40 p.m. to warm up, another when he returned to the dugout, and a third when he led the Giants onto the field. When Cain blew 89 mph past Wil Myers to end a perfect first inning, the crowd roared again. 

Cain struck out another in a clean second, but Hunter Renfroe led off the third with a single to center. As Derek Law started to warm up in the bullpen, Cain got out of the inning. Law and Ty Blach warmed up from the start of the fourth, but Cain didn’t need any help. He worked around an infield single, freezing Christian Villanueva with a 90 mph fastball at the knees to get the third out. 

Law again started the fourth on the bullpen mound, and when Cain walked leadoff hitter Cory Spangenberg, manager Bruce Bochy emerged from the dugout. Bochy immediately heard a chorus of boos, but after a quick talk with Cain, he left him in. Cain struck out Austin Hedges, giving him 1,694, the third-most in San Francisco Giants history. When Jhoulys Chacin grounded out on Cain’s 73rd pitch, a legendary career was over. 

Bochy was waiting for Cain when he returned to the dugout and he gave him a big hug. Cain hugged Buster Posey, waved both hands to the crowd, and then tapped his heart. As he descended the dugout steps for the final time, he flipped his cap into the crowd. 

A few minutes later, Cain’s final start officially became a Matt Cain start. Myers took Reyes Moronta deep to left, meaning Cain got Cained one last time. He took a no-decision after getting one run of support. This was the 109th no-decision of Cain’s career. 

The Giants got the go-ahead run in the seventh. Ryder Jones drew a walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. He raced home on Hunter Pence’s single, but the lead would disappear in the top of the ninth. Austin Hedges hit a two-run double off Sam Dyson with two outs and two strikes. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”