San Francisco, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza covers home plate after throwing a wild pitch against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
* Actual headline from a 1912 Chicago Tribune recap of a game the Cubs lost 2-1. This recap of Saturday night's 2-1 Cubs loss to the Giants is being written in the style of that 1912 recap... because what else do we have to entertain ourselves with this year?
Matt Cain, whose big league records have been filed away along with the top pitchers in baseball since the beginning of the 2006 season, continued in the vein of his strong youth Saturday, and as a member of the San Francisco National League team pitched a one run game against a once-proud Cubs team, winning his game by a score of 2 to 1.
Unusually, it was David DeJesus who was responsible for that one run, and it came in the fourth inning in the form of a home run over the center field wall. If David had not been in the game, Cain would have had a shutout, because there was no one else on the Cub team who could figure out a way to score against him.
Old time fans will remember Cain as the man who hit a two-run home run off Carlos Zambrano in this 2007 game. But Saturday night, his control was very good and he was using his brains. He stuck the ball over, sometimes high and fast, and sometimes down and low around the batter's knees. Few balls were hit hard and the north siders labored desperately, ultimately striking out seven times.
It was among the best pitching the Cubs have faced this year and it was well for San Francisco that Cain was in such form, for he was opposed by Matt Garza, who dealt out some of the sturdiest pitching any Cubs twirler has shown this season. San Francisco got only five safe hits off him, but unfortunately three of them came in the sixth inning, along with a base on balls that Garza did not think was properly called. Two Giants runs crossed the plate.
However, the starting pitchers didn't deserve all the credit for the tight game. There was also some brilliant relief pitching, both by Cubs Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol, and Giants Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo, and sparkling fielding by the Giants, who turned two double plays.
During the inning which proved decisive, when the call was made by Umpire Conroy that allowed the first Giants run to score, Garza was clearly not pleased. But no strenuous protest was made, for Manager Sveum and others know that such protest would result in immediately being ordered out of the game.
For the Chicagoans it was their second consecutive defeat after being on the winning side of the ledger in the previous three contests. Starlin Castro, who hadn't failed to make at least one hit in each of the previous eight games, did not have a hit on Saturday night. If one is superstitious, one might knock on wood to help him begin another such streak of hits.
(Back to 2012: the throwback uniforms were great. If not for the facial hair, Garza would have looked totally the part of a 1912-era player. The Giants' Cain had a Christy Mathewson look about him, and pitched nearly as well. The game preview for Sunday's game will post at 1 p.m. CDT.)