Fan reaction excites Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — The biggest story to emerge from Monday’s Giants-A’s exhibition game was you, the fan.

Enthusiasm for the Giants should have been predictable as they made their first AT&T Park appearance since winning the World Series. Still, the prolonged applause and/or louder-than-expected ovations for virtually every Giant who appeared in the game was definitely noticeable and bordered on unbelievable.

Even the normally stoic Matt Cain tipped his cap to the crowd upon leaving the game in the sixth inning. Cain indicated that he had flashbacks to Game 2 of the World Series, the Giants’ previous game at AT&T, when he left the mound to a thunderous roar after blanking Texas for 7 2/3 innings.

“That felt good to be able to get that big ovation,” Cain said. He added that the fans seemed “ready for the season to start again.”

Everybody was struck by the crowd’s size. The paid attendance was announced as 38,320. Most of the patrons actually showed up. “For an exhibition game, it was pretty impressive,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.”We certainly appreciate how the fans have been treating us.”

Said Cain, “That shows how excited they are about us being back in town.”

Even A’s starter Brett Anderson appreciated what he saw. “It was a little bit more of an adrenaline rush” than the usual exhibition game, Anderson said.

*****

Cain’s endurance was a good sign for the Giants. His 5 1/3-inning, 88-pitch outing suggested that he’ll be ready to throw the six or seven innings that’s typically expected of him when the regular season arrives, which of course is soon. Cain said that when he reached the 80-pitch mark, “I still felt like I had good stuff. Mentally, I was where I wanted to be, thinking about what I needed to get done. That’s what you want to do when you’re deep in the game.”

*****

Bochy is still considering his personnel options. He said that Tuesday night’s lineup at Oakland likely will include Mark DeRosa at first base, with Brandon Belt getting some at-bats as the designated hitter.

– Chris Haft

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