San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game at home on Wednesday night, striking out 14 Houston Astros in the process.
Cain (8-2) matched Los Angeles Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts ever in a perfect game in the 10-0 victory at AT & T Park. It was the 22nd perfect game in major league history.
The right-hander is just the seventh National League pitcher in the modern era to achieve the feat, and the first Giant to do so in a franchise that dates back 130 years.
How it went down
Astros First: Jordan Schafer strikes out swinging. Jose Altuve strikes out swinging. Jed Lowrie pops out to third baseman Pablo Sandoval in foul territory.
Astros Second: J.D. Martinez flies out to center fielder Angel Pagan. Brett Wallace strikes out swinging. Chris Johnson grounds out to shortstop Jaoquin Arias to first baseman Brandon Belt.
Astros Third: Brian Bogusevic grounds out to second baseman Ryan Theriot to first baseman Brandon Belt. Chris Snyder called out on strikes. J.A. Happ called out on strikes.
Astros Fourth: Jordan Schafer strikes out swinging. Jose Altuve called out on strikes. Jed Lowrie flies out to left fielder Melky Cabrera in foul territory.
Astros Fifth: J.D. Martinez called out on strikes. Brett Wallace strikes out swinging. Chris Johnson grounds out to second baseman Ryan Theriot to first baseman Brandon Belt.
Astros Sixth: Brian Bogusevic called out on strikes. Chris Snyder flied out to left fielder Melky Cabrera. Pinch hitter Brian Bixler strikes out swinging.
Astros Seventh: Jordan Schafer flies out to right fielder Gregor Blanco. Jose Altuve called out on strikes. Jed Lowrie strikes out swinging.
Astros Eighth: J.D. Martinez grounds out to third baseman Joaquin Arias to first baseman Brandon Belt. Brett Wallace called out on strikes. Chris Johnson grounds out to shortstop Brandon Crawford to Brandon Belt.
Astros Ninth: Brian Bogusevic flies out to left fielder Melky Cabrera in foul territory. Chris Snyder flies out to left fielder Melky Cabrera. Pinch hitter Jason Castro grounds out to third baseman Joaquin Arias to first baseman Brandon Belt.
— Associated Press
It was the 14th no-hitter in the history of the franchise and sixth since the team came to San Francisco. Jonathan Sanchez was the last Giants pitcher to leave batters hitless, in 2009.
Cain's 125-pitch masterpiece featured a pair of great plays by his corner outfielders, and 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.
Left fielder Melky Cabrera chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth, scurrying back to make a leaping catch on thewarning track. Cain raised both arms and slapped his glove in delight when Cabrera made the play. Then, right fielder Gregor Blanco ran into right-centre 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."
Perfect games thrown in major league history
- Matt Cain, San Francisco vs. Houston, 10-0, June 13, 2012
- Phil Humber, Chicago (AL) 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 , 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, 1-0, Sept. 30, 1984
- Len Barker, Cleveland vs. TORONTO, 3-0, May 15, 1981
- Catfish Hunter, Oakland vs. Minnesota, 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 (AL) at Detroit, 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
Cain won his seventh straight game in the process, staked early by a two-run home run from Cabrera in the first.
Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco each hit homers and drove in three runs.
J.A. Happ (4-7) took the loss, giving up eight runs on 11 hits in just over three innings of work.
It was the fifth time in history the Astros have been on the wrong end of a no-hitter, and the second time against the Giants. Hall of Famer Juan Marichal denied Houston in a 1963 game.
Phillip Humber threw a perfect game earlier this year for the Chicago White Sox, the second time in three years there have been multiple perfect games in the same season. Prior to Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay both going perfect in May 2010, there had been never a season with multiple occurences.
It was the fifth no-hitter already this season, and the third in June. 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 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 US, six-year contract in early April before the season started.
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.
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.