SAN FRANCISCO -- The hearty roar from the AT&T Park crowd said it all: Giants fans indeed appreciate Edgar Renteria.The Most Valuable Player of the 2010 World Series, which the Giants captured in five games against Texas, threw Sunday night's ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the Division Series. Speaking to a pool reporter as he sat in a box seat between home plate and the Giants dugout, Renteria said he was struggling to summarize the experience, because he was so emotionally moved to have been summoned by the Giants. "I'm very touched," said Renteria, the former infielder who hit .412 (7-for-17) with two home runs and six RBIs in the 2010 Series, including the decisive three-run homer in the Game 5 clincher. "It was so nice for me when they told me. The fans, they remember and appreciate everything. I'm never going to forget this time. They still remember what we did in 2010. It's unbelievable. I'm so happy they're playing in the playoffs again." Renteria, who finished his 16-year career with the Reds in 2011, said he visited San Francisco's clubhouse before the game. "You know, you go back and the feeling doesn't go away. It's still here," he said. "It was very exciting to play in the World Series. Always. Always."
Cain could be Giants' Game 4 starter
SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy said he wanted to keep his options open about selecting a starting pitcher for Wednesday's Game 4 of the Division Series, if the Giants survive that far.Common sense dictates that Game 1 starter Matt Cain just might return on three days' rest, one fewer than usual. Tim Lincecum's demotion to the bullpen for Game 2, which Bochy announced Sunday, indicated that the right-hander isn't in San Francisco's plans to start. Barry Zito would be next in line, but despite his strong finish -- San Francisco won his last 11 starts -- it's believed that the Giants are privately wary of using him at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Zito is 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in six career outings at the hitter-friendly site. Cain has never pitched on less than four days of rest in his career, according to baseball-reference.com. He said last Friday that he "wouldn't have a problem" performing on short rest. Cain allowed three runs in five innings and threw only 75 pitches Saturday while absorbing the decision in the Giants' 5-2 Game 1 defeat. He was removed for pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff in the sixth inning, but Bochy denied that this move was meant to spare Cain for a Game 4 start. "That was not a thought," Bochy said. "We're doing all we can to win the game. There's no thought in, 'Well, we can bring him back early.' That was [a matter of] trying to get some runs on the board." Bochy also said, "I don't think so," when asked if his decision on a Game 4 starting pitcher would hinge on whether the Giants led or trailed the series at that point.
Facing Chapman was 'fun' for Panda
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval offered a one-word answer Sunday when he was asked what it was like to face Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the National League Division Series in Saturday's 5-2 loss.
Surprisingly, the Giants third baseman didn't opt for "frightening" or "daunting."
"Fun," Sandoval said, smiling like only he can.
With his team trailing the Reds, 5-1, Sandoval came to the plate with the bases loaded. He fouled off a 99-mph fastball, did the same with a 100-mph offering and then popped up a 99-mph fastball to short right field on the third pitch he saw that was caught by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips for the second out of the inning.
Even though he didn't get the result he wanted, Sandoval relished the situation, even while facing the Reds closer, who was taxed in the ninth and had to throw 28 pitches to get three outs.
"I just try to put the barrel on the ball," Sandoval said. "It's a good matchup to face guys like that and you fight for that at-bat. It was exciting for me to be in that situation."
Exciting in the sense because two years ago, Sandoval was essentially a role player during the playoffs, having lost his starting spot. Sandoval had five plate appearances during three rounds of the playoffs.
"Tell you the truth, the night before I don't sleep," Sandoval said. "It's exciting to be in postseason."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.