Cain's precise, orderly and efficient performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks had collapsed in a heap in just a matter of minutes, a rally built on parade of singles and a walk, marinated in a stew of frustration.
Cain's pitching line portrays an unacceptable performance -- 5 1/3 innings, eight hits, five runs, three walks and five strikeouts in the Giants' 5-2 loss -- but, in this case, truth lies somewhere between statistics and facts on the ground.
Let's just say, if he had gotten a few of the calls that went against him, the hue of Cain's performance, and possibly the outcome of the game, would have been a shade brighter. And the typically unflappable, reliable and steady Cain wouldn't have gone all combustible on us.
Here's how that sixth inning unfolded:
Cain couldn't blame anyone but himself when he gave up a leadoff single to Justin Upton: it came on an 0-2 pitch, and though it was not a bad curve, he left it up above the knees and over the plate, and Upton, the hottest hitter in the game, jumped on it for a line drive single to left. An 0-2 hit is inexcusable, even to the hottest hitter in the game.
Who knows? That may have unsettled Cain, a perfectionist at heart. But immediately, Cain's frustration came through against the next hitter, Chris Young. He threw a knee-high fastball on the corner on the first pitch that Randazzo missed, and again on the third pitch en route to a four-pitch walk. Cain, who rarely shows emotion on the mound, was almost beside himself at the hand Randazzo had just dealt him.
The seeds of Cain's frustrations actually were planted an inning earlier. You could see through his body language that Cain could not believe two of Randazzo's calls that led to Ryan Roberts' walk to lead off the fifth inning. A one-out jam-job single to left by Gerardo Parra on a perfectly placed fastball on his hands added to the frustration, so there were two base runners that Cain felt should not have been out there.
After a sacrifice bunt, he pitched around Willie Bloomquist -- a move borne out an inning later -- to load the bases. He came back to snuff out the rally with a big strikeout, getting Kelly Johnson on a beautiful change up, keeping the Giants' 1-0 lead intact.
But in the sixth, his exasperation began to boil over. Immediately after the walk to Young to put runners at first and second with no outs, Cain paid for it on the first pitch to Miguel Montero, who singled through the hole on the right side to tie the game, 1-1.
Cain thought he had the next hitter, Ryan Roberts struck out on a front door cutter, knee high and on the inside corner, but Randazzo wasn't buying, Cain, once again showing shock and disbelief.
At this point, I'm surprised that pitching coach Dave Righetti didn't pay a visit to the mound to get Cain to regather himself -- if he was watching what I was watching. He didn't, and Cain didn't. The next pitch, a 91 MPH fastball, he left up and over the plate, in a t-ball location. Roberts obliged with a line drive RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
Cain recovered to get the rookie slugger Paul Goldschmidt, who'd hit him hard twice, to strike out, and jumped ahead of Gerardo Parra 0-and-2. But he couldn't put him away, and wound up giving up an insulting seeing-eye slow roller through the right side. It got past a diving second baseman Jeff Keppinger, who'd been bunched over toward the bag in double play depth, and the Diamondbacks now led, 3-1.
Both runners moved up on Carlos Beltran's ill-advised throw to the plate, a key to Cain's ultimate fate, because one out later, Willie Bloomquist jumped on his first pitch for a line drive single to center to drive in the final two runs of the rally, ending Cain's night.
It was strange to see Cain go right after Bloomquist after how carefully he pitched to him in the fifth. He pitched around him to load the bases, and escaped that jam by striking out Johnson. He could have employed the same strategy in the sixth. But the fact is, Cain's head wasn't screwed on properly at that point, driven to distraction by the confounding strike zone of Tony Randazzo.