video thumbnail

CHC@SF: Cain tosses five innings of perfect ball

A pair of seasoned pitchers will oppose each other in Tuesday night's Giants-D-backs rematch. They're experienced in different ways, however.

Matt Cain, the longest-tenured Giant, will make his 2014 debut against Arizona left-hander Wade Miley, who already has started a regular-season game this year.

Cain's beginning his ninth full year with the Giants. The three-time All-Star endured a manic 2013 season, posting a 5.06 ERA before the All-Star break and a 2.36 figure afterward. Cain, who finished 8-10 overall, admitted on numerous occasions that he "just didn't give these guys a chance to win some games we thought we could have."

Cain has made 32 career starts against the D-backs, the equivalent of a full season. He wouldn't mind duplicating his history with Arizona against all other clubs. Cain owns a 14-7 mark with a 3.38 ERA against the D-backs, the team he has faced the most in his career (he has confronted San Diego and Colorado, two other National League West foes, 31 times apiece).

Cain has captured four of his last five decisions against the D-backs, including 1-1 last year.

Miley started the March 22 opener during the D-backs' Opening Series in Sydney, Australia, and allowed three runs over five innings and struck out eight in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.

It made sense for Miley to follow a regular-season performance with an exhibition outing, given the time remaining before the start of the stateside schedule. Yet the sequence still seemed a trifle odd. Miley yielded three runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Indians last Thursday. He also was slow to cover first base twice.

Miley did not cite pitching in a spring game after a regular-season game as an excuse.

"That's on me," Miley said of his struggles. "Bcause in the end it's still a game and you've got to go out there and pitch, and I didn't do that. It was more embarrassing for me. It was hard mentally to throw an Opening Day, a game that means everything, and then five days again you throw a Spring Training game. That's on me, though. There was no excuse for pitching like that."

Giants: Middle-infield mix in flux

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated Monday that he'll elevate second baseman Joaquin Arias, a right-handed hitter who batted eighth Monday night, to seventh when the Giants face a left-hander. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, a left-handed batter, then would be flip-flopped into the eighth spot.

However, Bochy faces some decisions. He may occasionally platoon Crawford, benching him against left-handers to give the switch-hitting Ehire Adrianza some action. Adrianza helped his cause with his clutch pinch-hit double in the Giants' four-run, seventh-inning rally Monday.

Then again, if Crawford keeps swinging as he did Monday by going 2-for-4 with a ringing double off the center-field wall, he might keep Adrianza on the bench more often than anticipated.

D-backs: Pollock and Parra to hit leadoff

Manager Kirk Gibson likes to juggle his lineup on a frequent basis, so nothing is a sure thing, but he is leaning toward using A.J. Pollock as his leadoff hitter against left-handers and Gerardo Parra in the top spot against righties.

Pollock hit leadoff against lefty Madison Bumgarner in Monday's opener, with Parra hitting eighth. Parra will hit leadoff Tuesday against right-hander Cain with Pollock likely hitting seventh or eighth.

Parra struggled mightily against lefties in 2013, hitting just .198 against them. By contrast, he batted .297 off right-handers. Parra has made some mechanical adjustments at the plate that he hopes will help him improve this year against left-handers.

Pollock hit .259 against righties last year and .283 against lefties.

Worth noting

• D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 22 games, dating back to last year, with a third-inning double Monday.

• Tony Campana, Tuffy Gosewisch, Chris Owings and Bo Schultz were named to their first Opening Day rosters when the D-backs played the Dodgers in Australia. Schultz was optioned to Triple-A this past week.

• Left-hander Patrick Schuster was returned to the D-backs by the Royals. Schuster was selected by the Padres in last December's Rule 5 Draft and then claimed on waivers by the Royals on March 25. Schuster was assigned to Double-A Mobile.

• The Giants improved to 21-15 in road season openers since moving to San Francisco in 1958. They've played five consecutive season openers away from home.

• Miguel Montero's ninth-inning homer off Sergio Romo was the first long ball the Giants closer had allowed to the D-backs since Adam LaRoche took him deep on Aug. 28, 2010.

• The four unearned runs Madison Bumgarner yielded Monday represented a career high.

MLB.com Comments