Matt Cain Throws First Perfect Game In Giants History

Matt Cain has thrown three one-hitters in his career, and now he has a perfect game. It's the first one in the Giants' storied history.

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Matt Cain Praises Teammates Following Perfect Game

When a pitcher tosses a perfect game, he becomes the center of attention for understandable reasons. But when the media converged on Matt Cain following his perfect game Wednesday night, he was quick to praise his teammates -- especially catcher Buster Posey.

"I can't thank Buster enough," said Cain, according to MLB.com. "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."

Cain was also quick to highlight the defense behind him which made a couple of stellar outfield catches, including one by Gregor Blanco in the seventh inning.

"Obviously we can talk about the sixth inning or the seventh inning, but those were two unbelievable catches," said Cain. "That changes the whole thing. Obviously the defense behind me, the guys were able to give huge run support and I was able to go out and pitch comfortably."

For more on Cain's perfect game and the San Francisco Giants, visit McCovey Chronicles and SB Nation Bay Area.

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VIDEO: The Final Play Of Matt Cain's Perfect Game

Here’s video of the final play of Wednesday night’s perfect game by the GiantsMatt Cain:

That play, carried off by third baseman Joaquin Arias and first baseman Brandon Belt, wasn’t as easy as it looked. The ball was sharply hit and Arias took a stutter-step before throwing to first for the final out to complete the perfect game; the throw beat baserunner Jason Castro by a couple of steps.

This came after two other fine outfield plays that helped save perfection, one by Melky Cabrera, another by Gregor Blanco (the latter a spectacular dive onto the warning track). You often see plays like this save no-hitters or perfect games (DeWayne Wise’s in Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009 is the gold standard for these), and Wednesday night was no exception.

For more on Cain’s perfect game, please visit McCovey Chronicles and SB Nation Bay Area.

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Matt Cain's Perfect Game: Are Perfect Games Becoming Commonplace?

The GiantsMatt Cain threw a perfect game Wednesday night against the Astros; it was the 22nd such game in major-league history and one of the most dominating performances among them, with 14 strikeouts.

Perfect games used to be rare, but in recent seasons we have almost come to expect them. Let’s look at the distribution of perfect games by decade:

1880s: 2
1890s: 0
1900s: 2
1910s: 0
1920s: 1
1930s: 0
1940s: 0
1950s: 1
1960s: 3
1970s: 0
1980s: 3
1990s: 4
2000s: 2
2010s: 4

Discounting the two in 1880 — pitched within five days of each other under different rules and conditions — there were two in the first decade of the 20th Century, and then just one from Addie Joss’ in October 1908 until Don Larsen’s in the World Series in 1956, a 48-year span.

It’s now been almost exactly 48 years since Jim Bunning threw one against the Mets June 21, 1964, and including that one, there have been 16 perfect games in that time period.

Commonplace? Perhaps not, but now we’ve seen five in the last three years. Run-scoring is down in general and we appear to be in the midst of a pitcher-dominated era. There have been five no-hitters already in 2012.

Prediction: there will be more perfect games sooner, rather than later.

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Matt Cain Perfect Game In Headlines

Did you know that Giants pitcher Matt Cain has a name that's convenient and versatile for purposes of wordplay? I bet you did not, but after Cain threw a perfect game against the Astros in San Francisco Wednesday night, headline editors seized the opportunity they'd been given. Below, a limited collection of results, culled from the Internet. I would've culled from newspapers, too, but none of them have arrived yet on my doorstep. Great sustainable business model in the 21st century, newspapers.

From ESPN:

Cainespn_medium

From CBS:

Caincbs_medium

From Sports Illustrated:

Cainsi_medium

(This isn't a Cain pun, but it is a pun, so.)

From MLB.com:

Cainmlb_medium

From elsewhere on MLB.com:

Cainmlb3_medium

From still elsewhere on MLB.com:

Cainmlb2_medium

From CNN:

Caincnn_medium

Oh, geez, it's like it's not even important to them. Well excuse me, your majesty, sorry to bother you with perfection. I'll let you get back to talking about how it's important to express yourself to your doctor if he or she recommends something of which you're uncertain. Like that's something anybody needs to know.

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Matt Cain Perfect Game Keeps It Simple

Given two pitchers, one of whom is great and the other of whom is not great, obviously the great pitcher will have the better odds of throwing a perfect game. That is so obvious that I can't believe I'm even typing this out.

Here's the thing, though: baseball's got a lot more not-great pitchers than it does great pitchers. So while you can try to predict who's going to throw the next perfect game, most of the time you're going to be wrong. Nobody would've predicted Philip Humber, even against the Mariners. Nobody would've predicted Dallas Braden. Plenty of people would've predicted Roy Halladay, but nobody, not nobody would've predicted Armando Galarraga, and I do count that one. Hell, Galarraga generated one more out than all the other guys.

If you were to sit and try to predict the next perfect game a few days ago, though, Matt Cain would've or should've been near the top of the list. Especially if he were starting at home. What's a more obvious measure of perfect-game likelihood than on-base percentage against? By that very simple measure, dating back to 2009, Matt Cain has allowed a .265 OBP when pitching in San Francisco. That's the fourth-lowest mark in all of baseball, behind Jered Weaver, Ted Lilly, and Justin Verlander. Weaver already threw a no-hitter at home this season. I'm going to go ahead and conveniently ignore Lilly. Verlander flirts with a no-hitter or perfection just about every time he takes the mound.

There's something about Matt Cain that allows him to surrender fewer baserunners than you'd expect, particularly within AT&T Park. That quality gave him some of the highest perfect-game odds in the league. They still weren't good odds, but they were higher odds than most. Wednesday, Matt Cain threw a perfect game within AT&T Park.

Sometimes these things come completely out of nowhere. Sometimes they do not.

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Matt Cain Perfect Against Astros

PITCHERS RULE!

Seems like it this year, anyway.

Wednesday night, the Mets' R.A. Dickey capped the greatest five-start run in the history of knuckleball pitchers with a one-hitter to beat the Tampa Bay Rays.

Dickey was just a warm-up act.

Later in the evening, the Giants' Matt Cain tossed a perfect game against the Astros. It was Major League Baseball's second perfect game this season, and the fifth no-hitter (including last week's combined no-hitter thrown by Seattle's Kevin Millwood and thirteen relief pitchers).

Cain had a couple of close calls.

In the top of the fourth inning, Jordan Schafer led off and pulled a shot down the first-base line. First-base umpire Mike Muchlinski immediately called it foul, but replays suggest the ball might just have crossed the corner of the bag. Only FIELDf/x knows for sure (and he's not talking).

In the seventh, it was Schafer again. This time he drove a long fly ball toward the gap in right-center field, a long ways from any San Francisco gardener. But right fielder Gregor Blanco got a good jump, and went airborne at the warning track, in a headlong dive, to make the catch. Cain threw up his hands, then tipped his cap to Blanco.

Blancocatch

In comparison, the eighth and ninth innings were uneventful. Until the end, anyway.

With one out in the eighth, Cain struck out Brett Wallace for his 14th strikeout to set a new career high.

In the ninth, all three outs were routine (at least for someone watching on television). Brian Bogusevic and Chris Snyder both lofted easy flies to left fielder Melky Cabrera, and pandemonium broke out when pinch-hitter Jason Castro hit a grounder to third baseman Joaquin Arias, who'd been inserted earlier for his defense.

Arias snagged the ball, then threw hard and true to Brandon Belt at first base to complete the perfect game.

Oh, and the Giants won 10-0.

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Matt Cain Perfect Through 8 Innings

Wednesday night in San Francisco, Matt Cain has pitched eight perfect innings against the Houston Astros.

In the top of the eighth, J.D. Martinez led off with a ground ball to third base, where Joaquin Arias handled it. Next, Cain struck out Brett Wallace for his 14th strikeout; he'd already set a career best in the seventh inning, with his 13th K. And Cain made it 24 up and 24 down by retiring Chris Johnson on a grounder to shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Cain's thrown 114 pitches through eight innings, and it's now apparent that he'll be given a shot at finishing what would be the first no-hitter (and perfect game) of his career. Oh, and the Giants took a 10-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Before the eighth inning, there were two exceptionally close calls.

In the fourth, Jordan Schafer hit a screaming grounder down the first-base line, but according to the umpire -- and granted, he had the best look at it -- the ball went foul just before crossing the bag.

And in the seventh, Schafer got robbed again. This time he drove a pitch to deep right-center field, where Gregor Blanco somehow snared the ball with a headlong dive that left him prone on the warning track.

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