Cain turns in encouraging season debut

Giants starter allows two runs over six innings

Cain turns in encouraging season debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the home runs by Trevor Brown and Brandon Crawford generated the biggest thrills in the Giants' 3-2, 10-inning victory Friday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Cain's strong six-inning performance probably was the evening's most significant long-term development for San Francisco.

Cain provided indications that he has begun to regain the skills that formerly made him the ace of San Francisco's pitching staff. Now the Giants' No. 5 starter, Cain blanked the Dodgers until the fifth inning, when they scored both of their runs and collected four of the six hits that the right-hander allowed.

Cain issued only one walk. This reflected the command he maintained of all of his deliveries, primarily his offspeed stuff.

"Brownie and I got into a good rhythm early," Cain said, referring to catcher Trevor Brown. "... I felt that the ball was coming out of my hand really well."

Cain's progress in Spring Training was delayed by the removal of a cyst on his throwing arm. He was inactive for close to four weeks. This mostly idle spring followed a 2015 season in which he made just 13 appearances. But he managed to keep his spot in the rotation with promising efforts toward the end of the exhibition season, including an appearance in a Minor League game.

"It's a great start," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain's outing. "He just looks healthy. He made a couple of two-strike mistakes, but besides that, he did a terrific job."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.