Rewind: Rockies at Giants, Game #1

Cain, Abel, and Alou couldn't stop the hot team in the NL West Cellar from taking down the Orange & Black at home. Bummer.

Matt Cain brought the hype. Byung-Hyun Kim brought his unorthodox slider and a slightly less putrid offense into San Francisco, and emerged victorious.

In front of a sizable Monday night crowd at SBC Park, Kim and the Colorado Rockies spoiled the Major League debut of the young San Francisco Giants righthander as the visitors took the first game of a three-game set, 2-1.

Cain, whose mid-90s fastball came as advertised, allowed only two runs and three hits in five innings, walking four and striking out two Rockies. But Kim’s brilliance on the mound overshadowed him, as the South Korean limited the Giants to five hits and one run over seven innings, striking out six batters.

After a hitless top of the first inning, the Rockies struck immediately the next chance they got off of Cain. Left fielder Matt Holliday took a Cain heater deep into the left field bleachers to lead off the second and gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead.

The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth, when Cain proceeded to load the bases with no one out via two hits and two walks. But the youngster bore down and induced former Giant Dustan Mohr to ground into a double play that scored Todd Helton, then after a walk issued to third baseman Garrett Atkins struck out catcher Danny Ardoin to end the threat with just the one run earned.

The two runs would be enough for the Rockies, however. Aside from Moises Alou (two hits including a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth) and Pedro Feliz (two hits), the rest of the Giants batters could only muster up one other hit (Omar Vizquel’s single in the first inning) in 19 at-bats. In fact, after Feliz’s hit with one out in the fourth inning, Kim, Mike DeJean, and Brian Fuentes allowed only one other batter to reach base (Feliz again, via a base hit in the seventh) for the rest of the game.

SFDugout Player of the Game: It would be too easy to give this distinction to Cain. But Moises Alou temporarily gave the team and its fans hopes of a comeback, so the veteran outfielder gets the nod.

Notes: With his debut, Cain joined some rare company. He is the youngest Giant to debut since Mark Grant laced it up at the age of 20 years and 6 months in 1984. The youngest San Francisco Giant to make his Major League debut was Cy Young Award winner Mike McCormick in 1956 at 17 years and 11 months. The youngest player in franchise history was none other than Hall of Famer Mel Ott, who began playing Major League ball at 17 years and one month in 1926… Kim picked a hell of a time to pitch well enough for his first road victory of the season. Prior to tonight’s game, his road record was 0-4 with a 5.51 ERA. Kim indeed served to the Giants youth, however, as youngsters Lance Niekro and Linden mostly looked lost at the plate against him. The youngsters were not alone, however, as Winn, Snow, Durham, and Matheny also went hitless… Cain eventually won the 14-pitch at bat against Helton in the fifth, but his lengthy battles with multiple Rockies batters throughout the game suggest that he needs to work on developing an out pitch. Even average Major League hitters like the Rockies can foul off heat without much movement.

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