To get the awful taste of that Toronto series out of our mouths, and to prepare for Matt Cain’s start tonight in Colorado, here again is that awesome play turned by Cain last Friday against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park. It happened in the top of the second inning with one out and nobody on. With the count 1-2, Braves catcher Brian McCann hit a sharp comebacker that deflected off of Cain’s right thigh and rolled toward the first base line. Without missing a beat, Cain ran for the ball, grabbed it with his right hand just as it reached the line, and flipped a quick off-balance throw to Brandon Belt at first, getting McCann by a couple of steps. Belt was equally terrific on the play, stretching to his left in foul territory to glove the throw from Cain while keeping his foot on the bag.
It was only after the play was over that Cain showed how much the combacker stung. Now that’s a major league player.
Cain pitched beautifully that game, going eight innings and giving up only two earned runs on three hits. The Giants won, 8-2.
We need another one like that.
One of the most memorable Braves-Giants games took place September 14, 1986, at Candlestick Park. Bob Brenly, who would later manage the Arizona Diamondbacks during their dramatic 2001 World Series victory over the New York Yankees, was the Giants’ regular starting catcher. However, during this particular game, Brenly was asked to take over third base duties after regular Giants third baseman Chris Brown complained of shoulder soreness.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning. That was when Brenly, not used to playing third, managed to make four errors in the same inning, tying a Major League record. The errors led to four costly runs, putting the Braves on top, 4-0.
But what’s truly remarkable about this story is what happened next. Brenly led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run against Braves starter Charlie Puleo (Bob Melvin, who was catching in Brenly’s place, came up next and hit another solo homer). In the seventh inning, with bases loaded and two outs and the Braves leading 6-4, Brenly singled to knock in two more runs, tying the game, 6-6.
Finally, in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the game still tied 6-6, Brenly came to the plate and hit a walk-off home run against Braves reliever Paul Assenmacher, giving the Giants a 7-6 victory.
“I went from the outhouse to the penthouse,” Brenly joked after the game.
Above is a video showing highlights of the game.
(Note: In the video, Bob Costas is wrong about Brenly tying the game 4-4 in the seventh. According to baseball-reference.com, Brenly’s two RBIs tied the game, 6-6.)