MIAMI -- Not many starting pitchers have been able to contain Giancarlo Stanton recently. In fact, Player Page for Matt Cain was the only one to hold the white-hot slugger in check over the past week.Though the Giants ultimately fell, 8-1, to the Marlins on Wednesday, and Cain, who hasn't
MIAMI -- Not many starting pitchers have been able to contain Giancarlo Stanton recently. In fact, Player Page for Matt Cain was the only one to hold the white-hot slugger in check over the past week.
Though the Giants ultimately fell, 8-1, to the Marlins on Wednesday, and Cain, who hasn't earned a win since May 15, lost his ninth straight decision -- a feat that hasn't occurred since Barry Zito in 2010 -- the silver lining remains.
Cain and San Francisco's relievers were able to limit Stanton to soft contact or ground balls, a task that has looked hard to do in August. The Marlins star finished 2-for-4 after entering Wednesday's contest having homered in six straight, along with 11 home runs in his last 12 games.
But how was Cain able to do what Max Scherzer and Madison Bumgarner couldn't this month?
"Just trying to mix it up and change speeds on him," Cain said. "I mean, obviously he's been pretty comfortable in there, so just trying to keep him a little off-balance. We were able to do that for the most part today."
Cain worked exclusively inside on Stanton in their first-inning matchup. He fell behind, though, and yielded a bloop single on a 2-1 pitch.
While Cain came at Stanton with more offspeed the second time around -- he started him off with four straight breaking balls before once again pounding the inside corner -- his last two-seamer missed badly and plunked Stanton.
Cain's third and final encounter with Stanton featured more mixing of pitches. It ended with Stanton attempting to pull an outside curveball, which resulted in an easy comebacker to Cain.
The reason Cain had success against MLB's leading home run (44) hitter really lay in the fact that he wasn't scared to pitch inside, even if that meant hitting Stanton.
"That's the biggest thing with Stanton," Cain said. "If he gets extended, he's got a good chance of putting good wood on the ball."
San Francisco's first two starters this series, Ty Blach and Bumgarner, were unable to get the ball under Stanton's hands like Cain did.
Blach threw three fastballs in and off the plate, but Stanton muscled the final one out to left on Monday. Bumgarner served up a cutter that didn't cut enough inside and was sent whizzing past the home run sculpture in left-center on Tuesday.
But it was Cain, off whom Stanton has collected four homers in his career, who finally put out Stanton's fire. That is, at least for now.
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Giants on Wednesday.