Matt Cain strikes out 11 in one-hitter against Pirates

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Matt Cain was nearly perfect in the Giants’ home opener this afternoon against the Pirates. And that’s no hyperbole.

After allowing five runs over six innings in a loss to the Diamondbacks in his season debut on Sunday, Cain bounced back this afternoon by tossing a one-hitter as part of a 5-0 victory. He struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter in the gem.

And wouldn’t you know it, the only baserunner came on a single by opposing pitcher James McDonald with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Baseball sure is a funny/cruel game sometimes.

Don’t worry, Cain is pretty used to this whole “close, but no cigar” thing by now. This was his third career one-hitter and his fifth career shutout. One of these days.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.