San Francisco Giants ace Matt Cain took the hill on Monday for the first time since last week's perfect game and the results were ultimately good in a 5-3 victory over the Angels. Though the right-hander didn't replicate his 27 up, 27 down performance, he did earn the win by pitching his way out of trouble over five innings and handing the game over to his bullpen, which paid tribute to Cain with four perfect innings of their own.
Cain, who issued the same amount of walks (four) as strikeouts, described his effort as "grind-it-out." Manager Bruce Bochy said it was "gutty." That Cain might be a bit tired after the whirlwind that followed his mastery of the Houston Astros probably shouldn't come as a surprise. He taped the above segment with David Letterman upon arriving at Angel Stadium for the Giants' first visit to Orange County since the 2002 World Series. (That's kind of hard to believe, but it's true.)
He then accepted the gift of a samurai sword from Mizuno USA, a company that he endorses. According to Mizuno, the sword has only been awarded to its brand ambassadors on five different occasions with the most recent being Dallas Braden's perfect game in 2010.
Most starting pitchers, of course, follow a pretty regimented pregame routine with minimal interaction with any other people. Taping comedy bits and accepting weaponry is usually not part of the plan. But the important part is that Cain got through his work by only giving up three runs while his teammates took care of the rest. The Giants are now eight games over .500 at 38-30 and trail the Dodgers by 4.5 games in the NL West. Onward and upward.