Matt Cain raised his arms and waved his cap, fighting off tears amid a standing ovation as he walked off the mound for the last time Saturday.
Cain’s decorated 13-year career came to an end with him pitching five shutout innings in the San Francisco Giants 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.
The home crowd at AT&T Park saluted the right-hander, a cornerstone of the Giants’ championship era who pitched the only perfect game in franchise history. Cain took a curtain call and exited with a 1-0 lead.
“It was definitely an emotional roller-coaster as you walk out onto the field and take the bullpen mound,” Cain said. “The first couple of innings were all adrenaline, the last three were just on the guys and the fans, the fans just willing me along.”
Cain gave up two hits, struck out four and walked one. He made his last start a day ahead of his 33rd birthday and at the close of a $127.5 million, six-year contract.
“I think we’ll look back at this game as another great memory we have of Matt Cain, from the perfect game to his postseason pitching,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “A lot of those great games that he threw, I’ll look at this game too, at what he did to finish up.”
Beset by injuries in recent years, Cain has said he couldn’t imagine pitching for another team. The three-time All-Star finished 3-11 with a 5.43 ERA this year.
Cain pitched the clinching games of the 2010 and 2012 World Series and is among four current players on the team who were part of their three World Series championships over a five-year period. Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are the others.
Scherzer exits game early
Nationals ace Max Scherzer has been pulled from his start against Pittsburgh because of an apparent injury to his right leg. The NL East champions didn’t provide immediate word on the extent of Scherzer’s condition Saturday night.
Scherzer stumbled on a 2-2 pitch to Josh Bell in the fourth inning. Scherzer then began to throw a full-count pitch, but abruptly stopped when time was called. Washington manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Mike Maddux and team trainers visited the mound and quickly took out Scherzer.
This was Scherzer’s final tuneup before the Nationals play the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series beginning Friday. Scherzer leads the National League with 268 strikeouts. He is 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA. The two-time Cy Young winner had given up one hit and struck out five in 3 1/3 scoreless innings when he was hurt.
Indians outfielder Michael Brantley was activated Saturday from the disabled list, and manager Terry Francona is considering placing him on Cleveland’s roster for the AL Division Series. Brantley had been sidelined since Aug. 9 with a sprained right ankle. The two-time All-Star pinch-hit in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox and singled sharply off right-hander Carson Fulmer.