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MATT CAIN BECAME the first pitcher in the San Francisco Giants’ long history to pitch a perfect game, retiring all 27 Houston Astros he faced on Wednesday.
Cain notched a career-high 14 strikeouts, matching Sandy Koufax for the most in a perfect game. San Francisco’s offence backed him up with 15 hits in a dominant 10-0 victory.
It was the 22nd perfect game in Major League history and second this year. The Chicago White Sox’s Philip Humber accomplished the feat on April 21.
The Giants now have 14 no-hitters in their history, six since they moved to from New York to San Francisco. Jonathan Sanchez was the last Giants pitcher to throw a no-hitter, on 10 July 2009 against San Diego.
But Cain became the first Giants hurler to record a perfect game — a victory in which no opposing player reaches base — throwing 125 pitches.
Cain had taken no-hit bids into the seventh inning on five prior occasions, but never made one stand up past 7 2/3 innings.
I don’t know if I felt something special (before the game), but I definitely felt good.
I felt like I was able to locate my splitter and I had a good rhythm in the bullpen. In between the lines, I felt like I knew what I was doing with my fastball. … It obviously worked out right.
Gregor Blanco belted a home run and batted in three runs, and he also made a spectacular diving catch at the warning track in right center field off a ball hit by Jordan Schafer in the seventh inning to preserve Cain’s no-hit bid.
In the sixth, San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera had made a leaping catch for the second out of the inning, snagging a blast by Chris Snyder that looked headed for the left-field bleachers.
“Those were two unbelievable catches,” Cain said. “That changes the whole thing. Obviously (with) the defense behind me, the guys were able to give huge run support and I was able to go out and pitch comfortably.”
Cain said catcher Buster Posey also played a key role.
“I can’t thank Buster enough,” Cain said. “I didn’t even question him once. What he was calling, I was going to throw whatever he wanted and I was going to let him go. Buster did an unbelievable job back there. That was tremendous.”
Houston’s Brian Bogusevic and Snyder flied out for the first two outs of the ninth, then Cain induced Jason Castro to ground out to third to clinch the perfect game.
Here’s how some of California’s papers celebrated Cain’s achievement:
Text © AFP, 2012