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A Bunch Of Notes On Matt Cain And His Perfect Game

I said last night, after they hit their first homer in their past 16 home games, that the San Francisco Giants’ offense would bust out for something historic, probably, on Wednesday. Well, the offense did hit three more home runs tonight, but real history came from the mound.

Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history against the Houston Astros. He did so with 125 pitches, the most thrown during a perfect game in recorded history. He also struck out 14 batters, tied for the most in a perfecto with Sandy Koufax’s flawless gem from Sept. 9, 1965. And there’s plenty more where that came from.

  • Matt Cain’s game score from tonight was 101. Obviously, it’s tied with Koufax as the highest score in a perfect game.
  • That 101 is the second-best score for any pitcher in any nine-inning game. Only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout performance in 1998 was better — 105. There are certainly higher game scores, but most of those were registered back in the time of and before World War II, when men were men and starting pitchers were just getting warmed up once the 12th inning rolled around.
  • That is certainly the highest game score of this season. But before it, Philip Humber’s perfect game and another Matt Cain outing were tied at the top with a score of 96.
  • Cain joins Humber as the second duo of perfect pitchers to throw their special game in the same season. Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay both turned the trick in 2009, meaning that in the first 133 years of universally recognized major league baseball, there were 18 perfect games. There have now been four in the past three years. And we know it should have been five.
  • This was the first perfect game in the 130-season history of the New York Gothams/New York Giants/San Francisco Giants.
  • We probably wouldn’t even be talking about this game without this play. Considering the dimensions of that park in right-center field, that is truly unbelievable.
  • It’s a little tough to believe that this is Cain’s first venture into the land of perfection — or at least the land of no-hitterness. Since his MLB debut in 2005, Cain has had seven starts in which he gave up just one hit and pitched at least seven innings. Carlos Zambrano is second on that list with six such games.
  • Cain completed three of those seven games, tying him with Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez with the most complete-game shutouts with no more than one hit allowed in that time. An asterisk should be attached to that stat because that includes Sanchez’s no-hitter in 2006 and Verlander’s pair of no-nos.
  • Cain had taken five no-hit bids into the seventh inning before tonight. So now he’s 1-for-6.
  • Cain and Tim Hudson are the only active pitchers with three one-hit shutouts on their record.
  • Remember when we thought 2010 was the new year of the pitcher? Maybe we need to push it back to 2012. There have now been five no-hitters thrown this season (Humber, Jered Weaver, Johan Santana, six Mariners and Cain). And it’s only June 13! This is just the second time in the history of baseball where there have been five no-hitters this early in the season. The year 1917 saw five no-hitters thrown by the end of May 7. But no other year has had more than three no-hitters on or before the 13th of June.
  • Along with Cain’s effort versus the Pirates in April and R.A. Dickey’s game earlier tonight in Tampa Bay, there have also been five one-hitters this year. Five no-hitters and five one hitters after about 70 days worth of games. Yes, do keep in mind that the record for no-hitters in a season is eight. And that happened just a short 129 years ago.
  • And hey, even if it is a “Hail Mary,” maybe we’ll find out soon that we had two no-hitters thrown on the same day for the third time ever.

Nights like this, where something incredible can break out of nowhere on an otherwise lazy Wednesday, are what make baseball so grand.

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