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Matt Cain sets a new standard for perfection

Jun 14, 2012, 1:29 AM EDT

Matt Cain Getty Images

With his 125-pitch gem against the Astros on Wednesday night, Matt Cain entered the history books, throwing the 20th perfect game since 1900 and 22nd in major league history.

Cain struck out 14 in the contest, matching Sandy Koufax’s total on Sept. 9, 1965 for the highest strikeout total in a perfect game.

That gave him a game score of 101, which is tied for the second highest in major league history for a pitcher in a nine-inning game. Of course, Koufax, who had the same line, matched him there, as did Nolan Ryan in his 16-strikeout no-hitter in 1991. The top game score in a nine-inning game is 105, from Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout, one-hitter against the Astros in 1998.

Making Cain’s feat more impressive:

- The Giants exploded for 10 runs in the game, resulting in some lengthy waits for Cain in the third and fourth innings.

- The wind was blowing out at AT&T Park for the second night in a row. The Giants had gone 16 straight home games without a homer before hitting two on Tuesday night. Tonight, they hit three homers. The Astros wouldn’t have necessarily needed to get all of one to ruin the perfect game and the shutout bid in one swing. Chris Snyder almost spoiled things in the sixth, only to come up a bit short.

- He got to face opposing pitcher J.A. Happ just once, and position players accounted for 26 of the Astros’ 27 plate appearances tonight. While the Astros aren’t exactly known for having a high-powered offense, they entered the night ranked eighth in runs scored in the NL.

Cain’s perfect game was the first in the Giants’ long history. The 14 strikeouts was a new career high for him.

“I can’t thank [catcher] Buster [Posey] enough,” Cain told MLB.com’s Chris Haft. “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.”

  1. randygnyc - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    And- Cain got a hit himself, when Koufax went 0-2 in his perfecto.

    • ezwriter69 - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:02 AM

      Williams, Banks and Santo. See the HOF for details.

  2. goawaydog - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    PERFECT! Cograts to the Cainer. Made my night, can not imagine how he is feeling if I am this happy.

  3. hcf95688 - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    It would have been even more impressive if he did it against an actual major league team.

    • jxegh - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:45 AM

      Yes, we have an idiot in the house!

      Congratulations Cain!

  4. thenoblebard93 - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Words cannot describe the pure joy coursing through my body!

  5. Ben - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Just got home from the game. Still in shock.
    What a game.

    • aceshigh11 - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:48 AM

      You witnessed history. Congratulations!

      • Ben - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        Congratulations to all giants fans! 10am and the shock still hasn’t worn off.

  6. randygnyc - Jun 14, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    I’m getting all amped up reading how giants fans are feeling. Pretty cool. Looks like lots of people enjoyed it, i did, and I’m not a giants or NL fan.

  7. ezwriter69 - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Koufax faced Billy Williams, Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks in his perfect game, in their primes… don’t think the Stros have any HOF’ers in their lineup.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:31 AM

      And Don Larsen faced Reese, Snider, Robinson, Hodges and Campanella. Your point?

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:01 AM

        His point is that Reese, Snider, Robinson, Hodges and Campanella and Billy Williams, Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks are all Hall of Famers while Schafer, Altuve, Lowrie, Martinez andWallace clearly are not.

      • hasbeen5 - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        But they’re still some of the 1000 or so best players in the world, or they wouldn’t be wearing that uniform. Considering the commenter probably couldn’t throw a perfect game against a little league team, it seems silly to belittle the accomplishment.

    • btilghman - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      1965 Cubs team batting line: .238/.307/.358
      2012 Astros team batting line: .250/.314/.384

      Let Cain have the glory he deserves.

  8. Old Gator - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Sounds to me like Cain was able.

    Sorry about that….

    • samu0034 - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:19 AM

      At least you had the decency to apologize for it.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      It’s too bad Cain wasn’t on the Yankees or Mets. Otherwise I would have scanned the cover of the Post for you because what would no doubt be the headline.

      • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        “Now you’re gettin’ nasty.”
        …Indiana Jones to Belloc

  9. Pierre Cruzatte - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Ummm, call me when he does it in a real league (one with NINE HITTERS in the HITTING lineup).

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM

      Yeah I’ll do that. Also the next time a DH hits 50 HR’s I’m gonna ignore and you can let me know when someone other than a half player does it.

    • ptfu - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      Your comment’s even funnier when reading what Matthew wrote:

      “He got to face opposing pitcher J.A. Happ just once, and position players accounted for 26 of the Astros’ 27 plate appearances tonight.”

      Yep, that one pitcher at-bat somehow spoiled the sanctity of the perfecto. /sarcasm

    • stex52 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      So sue them. They actually played baseball instead of that ridiculous DH ball game.

    • Pierre Cruzatte - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      [/Successful trolling by an avowed NL fan.]

  10. mungman69 - Jun 14, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Cain was able…cute.
    I have never been to a no hitter. The feeling must be unworldly.

    • stex52 - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

      I saw one in 1986. It is memorable to watch.

      • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        I saw Al Leiter’s against the Rocky Mountain Oysters at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium. I can’t remember what they were calling it then. But it was delirious and I still have my ticket stub, which I immediately laminated with my Acme desktop laminating machine as soon as I got home that night. I believe that was the only time I ever used it.

      • Gamera the Brave - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        “Acme desktop laminating machine…”

        Didja buy it from Wile E. Coyote?
        And, more importantly, could Wile E. talk in that episode?

    • johngaltx - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Sat through 6+ innings of no-hit ball Sunday by A.J. Burrnett, it was not exciting in the least. My brother-in-law was asleep by the fifth inning. Would rather see a 10 to 9 home team win any day of the week.

  11. kevinbnyc - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    How about the class he showed, going on about posey like that. Good for him.

  12. dawgpoundmember - Jun 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    i went to bed last night watching for love of the game…what irony

    • hasbeen5 - Jun 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      What a terrible movie

  13. niubears - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Amazing performance by Cain.

    I still think Wood’s 20k game is the best pitching performance of all-time. Stupid Kevin Orie.

  14. delawarephilliesfan - Jun 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Congratulations to Matt Cain. Now please stop this idiotic comparison – 27 up and 27 down is the best you can do, and he did it. Getting into this mypopic disection of comparing one perecto to another is pointless.

  15. Jennie Oemig - Jun 14, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    clearly, with perfect games and no-hitters becoming less and less rare, baseball has become more of a pitcher’s sport … http://98ontheblack.com/2012/06/14/cain-and-able/

  16. mfiore123177 - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    The most perfect of them all was not Koufax or Cain —- It was either Don Larsen or David Cone and let me explain why————the world series is the grandest stage vs the best or second best team—————David Cones perfect game was accomplished with 89 pitches and not 1 3 ball count—–not one count went to 3-0———-not to mention Don Larsen threw out the 1st pitch to Yogi Berra before Cone took the mound———-now look up the definition of the word perfect and tell me David Cones isnt #1 ——- Koufaxs ks werent even the most for a no hitter come on Jack

    • mfiore123177 - Jun 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      not 1 count had 3 balls not 3-0 —- sorry—- zero 3 ball counts

      and if the Koufax perfecto you speak of was thrown in this era he wouldnt have even got a shutout because replays clearly show that there was a fair HR hit that was called foul

      • barryhoskings - Jun 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        Please state where you found this replay. The game was not televised and the only part of the game that was recorded was the 9th inning. At the top of the 9th the Dodger announcer, Vince Scully, called down to the broadcast truck & had them turn on the tape recorded for the 9th inning – simply for the benefit of the pitchers. Koufax & the Dodgers would love to have a video recording of the game, but they’ve never been able to find one. So, again where and when did you see this “replay”?

      • barryhoskings - Jun 15, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Oops, sorry about the two (or more?) typos.

  17. miguel3557 - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Cain deserves the praise he’s getting. He’s always been unfailingly humble, polite, unflappable, complimentary to those who help him (Posey called a great game, giving credit to both Cabrera and Blanco as making “unbelievable catches), and has never whined about lack of run support, which is what mainly accounts for his career 76-75 record.

    I was most impressed by how he held it together the last two innings. Even though he was overthrowing his change-ups, he fought threw the batters with his fastball and occasional sliders and curve balls. He was struggling to hold it together, and he succeeded mightily.

    Matt Cain is exactly what a great baseball player is supposed to be like.

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