ATLANTA — When the Giants drafted Sherman’s Kyle Crick six years ago, they tried to deflect the unavoidable comparisons to Matt Cain. You just don’t want to put that kind of pressure on a high school kid.
Crick, now 24 years old and the hype long eroded, made his major league debut Thursday night, and it was not on a ballyhooed stage. He entered with the Giants trailing by six runs in the fifth inning of a 12-11 loss to the Atlanta Braves at rain-soaked SunTrust Park.
It was an inning that Cain began with a lead but could not finish.
The Atlanta Braves sent 13 batters to the plate while scoring eight runs in the fifth inning. It was an inning that featured home runs from two players named Adams (Matt and Lane, but not John Quincy). It was an inning that lasted so long, pinch runner Danny Santana hit an RBI single.
It was an inning that began with the Giants’ longest tenured player opening a vein and ended with Manager Bruce Bochy handing Crick a tourniquet.
The Giants lost three of four in Atlanta and dropped seven of eight on their trip.
Because the Braves scheduled a night game — something that will be illegal under the collective bargaining agreement next season — the Giants already knew their wheels wouldn’t hit the tarmac at SFO until after 3 a.m. Friday, and they would have to sleep fast before a homestand opener against the New York Mets.
Then rain delayed the first pitch by 86 minutes. When midnight struck in Atlanta, they were batting in the eighth inning. So the Giants will end up playing Major League Baseball games in Atlanta and San Francisco in the same day.
Cain and Crick saw their careers pass like ships in the steamy night.
Cain could not hold a 6-4 lead as Brandon Phillips placed a looping curveball into the second deck to start an inning that felt longer than “The Seven Samurai.” He gave up two more singles and yielded to Bryan Morris, who retired only two of the eight batters he faced and gave up a three-run shot to Adams (Lane, not John Quincy). Even the two outs Morris recorded were struck to the outfield, and it took a diving play from Austin Slater to minimize one of them into a sacrifice fly.
Morris had to wear it because Sam Dyson and Cory Gearrin had thrown multiple innings the night before, and Hunter Strickland’s suspension is the gift that keeps on smarting.
At least Crick provided a nice moment for himself and his parents in the stands. He pumped a 96 mph fastball for a first-pitch strike, and although Santana hit an RBI single, Crick got Adams (Matt, not John Quincy) to fly out to end the inning.
Then Crick, who endured so many control issues while three-peating at Double-A Richmond, retired the next six batters in order. Impressively, he threw 26 of 33 pitches for strikes.