Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Cain gives Giants their first perfecto

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain tossed and turned and managed all of about four hours of sleep after his history-making gem for the Giants.

Perfectly understandable.

Cain's perfect game will be remembered among the most masterful pitching performances in regular-season history.

San Francisco's right-hander dominated the Astros in nearly every way late Wednesday in a 10-0 win for the 22nd perfect game ever and the fifth no-hitter this year.

He struck out a career-best 14, making up more than half of his 27 straight outs and tying Sandy Koufax for most strikeouts in a perfect game. Cain threw 19 first-pitch strikes and never faced a 2-and-0 count in winning his career-high seventh straight start.

"I'm still pumped," said Cain, who was playing catch 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 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 130-year history and its 14th no-hitter.

Cain threw 125 pitches, the most ever in a perfect game, and 86 were strikes. Seven of his strikeouts were called. He didn't shake off catcher Buster Posey even once. They were in sync all evening.

"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.

Cain followed up Madison 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," manager 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."

The two-time All-Star was rewarded with a six-year, $127.5 million contract, the richest for a right-hander, days before the season began.

Cain, 27, showed glimpses of his potential for perfection in consecutive starts in mid April. There was a one-hitter against Pittsburgh in the home opener, then nine shutout innings against the Phillies in a 1-0, 11-inning Giants victory his next time out.

Yet even Giants Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell, Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry hadn't accomplished what Cain did Wednesday.

Leftfielder Cabrera delivered the first save with his glove when he chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth at the wall. Then, rightfielder Blanco sprinted into deep center for a diving catch on a hard-hit drive by Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh.

Blanco came up holding the ball for all to see.

"I have watched it a lot, and I still don't believe I made that play," Blanco said.

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