SAN FRANCISCO -- Before leaving the mound Monday night, Matt Cain gave Matt Holliday something to remember him by.
He drilled him with a fastball.
If that pitch left a bruise, the rest of what Cain did in Game 7 is going to leave a more permanent mark.
Adding to his growing legend, he pitched the Giants into the World Series with 52/3 shutout innings. He also delivered two hits -- one at the plate, one from the mound -- to pave the way for a 9-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.
"He found a way to get it done," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Cain became just the fourth pitcher to win an All-Star Game and a Game 7 in the same season. The others are Roger Clemens, Sandy Koufax and Paul Derringer.
And what was Cain feeling as he walked off the mound? Jubilation? Pride?
"I was mad," he said evenly. "I didn't want to come out."
Bochy reasoned otherwise, figuring that Cain (102 pitches) had carried his fair share of the load. Beyond his work on the mound, he also delivered a run-scoring single in the second inning.
That single followed RBI hits from Barry Zito (in Game 5) and Ryan Vogelsong (in Game 6).
The only other team to have pitchers drive in a run in three consecutive postseason games is the 1970 Baltimore Orioles (Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer), who did it against the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series.
Cain said he wasn't trying to keep up with the other slugging members of his rotation. He just said he wanted to do whatever it took to erase the 3-1 deficit in this series.
"We put ourselves into a pretty nasty situation," he said. "And when you get yourself in a nasty situation, there's only one way out."
More memorable than the hit, however, was the hit by pitch. He nailed Holliday in the left shoulder leading off the sixth. Because the Giants led comfortably at 7-0, it looked suspiciously like retribution for Holliday's hard, late slide into Marco Scutaro earlier in the series.
Did Cain have Scutaro's back?
"I think our whole team had his back," Cain replied.
Holliday showed little reaction upon being hit, trotting to first base, and offered nothing after the game. "I don't want to talk about it," he said.
It's possible that pitch represented the best command Cain had all night. His final line looked like ace stuff, but not his style. He left pitches up in the strike zone, especially early in the game, and missed his spots throughout.
"I won't say I was concerned, but I agree," Bochy said. "It wasn't his best stuff, yet he got the win and he shut them down. It's what you have to do when you're out there."
Cain also won Game 5 of the Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. He is the second pitcher in major league history to win multiple winner-take-all games in a single postseason. The other was Chris Carpenter, who did it for the Cardinals last season.
Including 2010, Cain has now allowed zero earned runs in four of his seven postseason starts.
It's also his second World Series. How do the celebrations compare?
"The champagne tastes just the same," he said.
Contact Daniel Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.