Cain's perfect gem one to savor
Cain’s perfect game will be remembered among the most masterful pitching performances in regular-season baseball history, if not ever.
San Francisco’s ace right-hander dominated the Houston Astros every which way Wednesday night in a 10-0 win for the 22nd perfect game ever and the fifth no-hitter already this year.
He struck out a career-best 14 batters, making up more than half of his 27 straight outs and tying Sandy Koufax for most Ks in a perfecto. Cain
(8-2) threw 19 first-pitch strikes and never faced a 2-0 count in winning his career-high seventh straight start.
“I’m still pumped,” said Cain, who was back on the field playing catch with fellow starter Madison Bumgarner by 10:15 a.m. Thursday after a workout. “I haven’t really had a ton of time to sit down and look over stuff, see how it all happened. I don’t know that it has hit me yet, maybe when I can sit down and watch the highlights, go over the game.”
Add in a pair of improbable catches by Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco to preserve the bid, and Cain wound up with the first perfect game in the franchise’s storied 130-year history and its 14th no-hitter. It was the third this month, as Cain joined the Mets’ Johan Santana and a combined no-no by Seattle’s staff.
Cain threw 125 pitches—most ever in a perfect game—and 86 of those for strikes. Seven of his strikeouts were called. He didn’t shake off catcher Buster Posey even once. They were in sync on this memorable evening, all right.
“It’s something I always wanted to do since I was little, but it’s kind of a blur when it actually happens,” Cain said Thursday, when the Giants lost their series finale to Houston, 6-3.
The 27-year-old Cain followed up Bumgarner’s 12-strikeout night Tuesday, and they became the first Giants pitchers to record consecutive double-digit strikeout games since Vida Blue and John Montefusco in May 1978.
“Things like this bring a team together even more,” San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy said. “That’s the first one I’ve seen. It was an incredible night. Matt was going about it like a normal game. That last at-bat he sprinted to first base and I yelled, ‘Hey, take it easy.’ But he always plays the game hard.”
Team President and CEO Larry Baer and the rest of the brass must have been pinching themselves in delight that they decided to reward the two-time All-Star with a $127.5 million, six-year contract days before the season began—the richest for a right-hander.
Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox tossed the majors’ last perfecto at Seattle on April 21. This is the second time in three years there have been two perfect games in the same season—before that, the only other time it happened was in 1880.
Cain’s cap, cleats, dirt from the mound, a ball and his uniform are being sent to Cooperstown. The umpires presented the pitcher with a game ball signed by all four of them.
First baseman Brandon Belt made sure Cain got the game ball, quickly putting it in his back pocket after catching third baseman Joaquin Arias’ throw for the 27th and final out.
“I think I watched video of the last out 15 times. It was pretty cool, an awesome feeling,” Belt said.
Cain tried to keep it all in perspective the day after.
“The crazy thing is that in four more days I’ve got to pitch again,” he said. “Enjoy it, love that it happened. But I have to start thinking about pitching against the Angels on Monday. I’m trying to stay on a routine.”