Matt Cain pitches 22nd perfect game in MLB history, first for Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain pitched the 22nd perfect game in major league history and the first for the Giants, striking out a career-high 14 and getting help from two spectacular catches to beat the Houston Astros 10-0 on Wednesday night.

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San Francisco Giants right-hander Matt Cain delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning, en route to a perfect game Wednesday.  JEFF CHIU/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JEFF CHIU/ASSOCIATED PRESS
San Francisco Giants right-hander Matt Cain delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning, en route to a perfect game Wednesday.

Cain's 125-pitch masterpiece for San Francisco featured a pair of great plays by his corner outfielders. He got pinch-hitter Jason Castro on a grounder to third for his 27th and final out with the sellout crowd of 42,298 roaring.

It was the fifth no-hitter in the majors already this year and second perfect game. At a ballpark where Barry Bonds made home run history, Cain produced the signature moment for pitchers.

Left fielder Melky Cabrera chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth, scurrying back to make a leaping catch at the wall. Cain raised both arms and slapped his glove in delight when Cabrera made the play.

Then, right fielder Gregor Blanco ran into deep right-center to make a diving catch on the warning track and rob Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh. The 27-year-old pitcher hugged Blanco in the dugout after the inning.

"Those were unbelievable catches," Cain said. "I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing."

Phillip 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 (8-2) accomplished a feat even Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal couldn't with this storied franchise.

Not since 1917 have there been five no-hitters in a season by mid-June. The only year that came close was 1990, when Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Stewart each pitched no-hitters on June 29 — the fourth and fifth of the season.

This year, Johan Santana tossed the New York Mets' first no-hitter on June 1 and six Seattle pitchers shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers last Friday. Jered Weaver had one for the Los Angeles Angels on May 2.

The Astros were no-hit for the fifth time and first since Carlos Zambrano did so for the Cubs on Sept. 14, 2008.

The Giants made a big commitment to Cain this spring, locking him up for a long haul — and he showed exactly why general manager Brian Sabean has vowed to keep his talented pitchers. In a week when the city's attention turned to golf and the U.S. Open, Cain delivered his most impressive gem yet in his 216th career start.

The 125 pitches were the most ever thrown in a perfect game.

The two-time All-Star who had long been the Giants starter who endured a lack of run support already was rewarded with a new $127.5 million, six-year contract in early April before the season started. This certainly meant as much or more to the homegrown pitcher.

Cain threw 86 of his pitches for strikes, faced just four full counts and still clocked 90 mph in the ninth. Cain followed up Madison Bumgarner's 12-strikeout gem in Tuesday night's 6-3 win.

It was the first no-hitter since departed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants' last one on July 10, 2009, against the Padres at AT&T Park.

The Astros were no-hit by the Giants for the second time. Marichal did it on June 15, 1963.

Ted Barrett became the first umpire to work behind the plate for two perfect games. He also worked David Cone's 1999 perfecto.

Catcher Buster Posey rushed the mound as Cain raised his arm. His teammates jumped the dugout rail as the final out was made, a moment reminiscent of that improbable World Series championship in 2010 at Texas.

"I can't thank Buster enough," Cain said. "I didn't even question once what he was calling."

Cain's wife, Chelsea, fought tears when shown in the stands as the celebration began, then made her way to the dugout for a congratulatory hug and kiss.

Cain had come close already this season — not once, but twice. In his second start of the year, in the team's home opener April 13, he one-hit the Pirates in a 5-0 win, then allowed only two hits over nine innings in the Giants' 11-inning, 1-0 win over Cliff Lee and the Phillies.

The Giants produced their first back-to-back 10-strikeout performances by one pitcher since 1978. On May 17, 1978, Vida Blue fanned 11 against the Cubs, then after an off day, John Montefusco struck out 10 at Los Angeles.

Cabrera, Brandon Belt and Blanco all hit two-run homers and the Giants produced an offensive outburst rarely seen at home this season and rarely seen on nights Cain has pitched.

On this night, he threw nine of his initial 11 pitches for strikes, commanding his repertoire with a dazzling fastball.

Cain, who hit one drive into McCovey Cove alongside U.S. Open golfer Dustin Johnson before the game to show off one of his other favorite pastimes, sat by himself in the dugout between innings.

PERFECT GAMES THROWN IN MLB HISTORY

Matt Cain, San Francisco vs. Houston, 10-0, June 13, 2012

Phil Humber, Chicago at Seattle, 4-0, April 21, 2012.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia at Florida, 1-0, May 29, 2010.

Dallas Braden, Oakland vs. Tampa Bay, 4-0, May 9, 2010.

Mark Buehrle, Chicago (AL) vs. Tampa Bay, 5-0, July 23, 2009.

Randy Johnson, Arizona at Atlanta (NL), 2-0, May 18, 2004.

David Cone, New York (AL) vs. Montreal, 6-0, July 18, 1999.

David Wells, New York (AL) vs. Minnesota, 4-0, May 17, 1998.

Kenny Rogers, Texas vs. California (AL), 4-0, July 28, 1994.

Dennis Martinez, Montreal at Los Angeles (NL), 2-0, July 28, 1991.

Tom Browning, Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles (NL), 1-0, Sept. 16, 1988.

Mike Witt, California at Texas (AL), 1-0, Sept. 30, 1984.

Len Barker, Cleveland vs. Toronto (AL), 3-0, May 15, 1981.

Catfish Hunter, Oakland vs. Minnesota (AL), 4-0, May 8, 1968.

Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles vs. Chicago (NL), 1-0, Sept. 9, 1965.

Jim Bunning, Philadelphia at New York (NL), 6-0, June 21, 1964.

x-Don Larsen, New York (AL) vs. Brooklyn (NL), 2-0, Oct. 8, 1956.

Charles Robertson, Chicago at Detroit (AL), 2-0, April 30, 1922.

Addie Joss, Cleveland vs. Chicago (AL), 1-0, Oct. 2, 1908.

Cy Young, Boston vs. Philadelphia (AL), 3-0, May 5, 1904.

x-World Series

___

Special Mention

Prior to modern era

John Richmond, Worcester vs. Cleveland (NL), 1-0, June 12, 1880.

John Ward, Providence vs. Buffalo (NL), 5-0, June 17, 1880.<

Unofficial perfect games

y-Ernie Shore, Boston vs. Washington (AL), 4-0, June 23, 1917.

z-Harvey Haddix, Pittsburgh vs. Milwaukee (NL), 0-1, 13 innings, May 26, 1959.

a-Pedro Martinez, Montreal at San Diego, June 3, 1995, 1-0, 10 innings.

___

y-Entered game after starter Babe Ruth walked Ray Morgan, and following an argument, was ejected by umpire Brick Owens. Morgan was caught stealing and Shore retired the remaining 26 batters.

z-Pitched 12 perfect innings, lost in 13th on an error, sacrifice bunt, walk and double.

a-Pitched 9 perfect innings, allowed leadoff double in 10th and was replaced by Mel Rojas, who finished one-hitter in 1-0 win.

GIANTS NO-HITTERS SINCE MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO
 

Juan Marichal, at Houston, 1-0, June 15, 1963

Gaylord Perry vs. St. Louis, 1-0, Sept. 17, 1968

Ed Halicki vs. N.Y. Mets, 6-0, Aug. 24, 1975

John Montefusco, at Atlanta, 9-0, Sept. 29, 1976

Jonathan Sanchez, vs. San Diego, 8-0, July 10, 2009

Comments (5) Add comment
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Scott Michaux
171
Points
Scott Michaux 06/14/12 - 03:31 am
2
0
What did we miss?

I don't want to say that AC sports editor John Boyette and I passed up skybox tickets to a perfect game tonight, but we passed up skybox tickets to a perfect game tonight. We drove past it twice, however, and could see the lights of AT&T Park from the deck of Art Spander's house high atop the hills of Oakland as it was in progress. The premium wine we were drinking was called, appropriately enough, Travesty.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 06/14/12 - 03:49 am
1
1
Bummer.

Bummer.

Gamecocks5
16
Points
Gamecocks5 06/14/12 - 07:50 am
1
1
Pretty awesome to have two

Pretty awesome to have two former Braves in Cabrera and Blanco making diving catches and hitting homers helping to preserve the perfecto for Matt Cain. Even though the Braves have always been known to get rid of good talent, it's good to see those guys still producing and having nice careers.

Sean Moores
490
Points
Sean Moores 06/14/12 - 09:49 am
2
0
Jake
32751
Points
Jake 06/14/12 - 07:17 pm
2
0
It's OK

Plenty of writers covered the perfect game. I think time at Spander's house was a good call. Next time split up.

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