Matt Cain saw 27 hitters for the Houston Astros come to the plate on Wednesday night. All 27 of them returned to their own dugout in futility, failing to reach base by hit, or walk, or hit by pitch, dropped third strike, on an error, or by catcher’s interference. Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history, and just the 20th in the modern era, in perhaps what might have been one of the most dominant perfect games ever.
Despite the perfection, Cain also struck out 14 Astros hitters. Cain tied Sandy Koufax’s record, who struck out 14 Cubs in his perfect game in 1965. If Cain had struck out the side in the 9th inning, he would have had the highest single game score ever. As it is, Cain finished the game with two routine fly balls to left field and a ground ball to third, but still is good for the second-highest game score in MLB history, trailing only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game.
Like many no-hitters or perfect games, this one was not without its moments of almost falling apart. In the 7th inning, Gregor Blanco made an incredible catch, outrunning the ball into deep right-center field at AT&T park. It truly is a game of inches.
Cain threw 125 pitches, coming in just below his previous career high of 131. Eighty-six of those 125 pitches were strikes, incredibly. Cain got to a 3-ball count just three times against Houston, working ahead in the count and truly dominating the whole night.
This was the first perfect game in the history of the San Francisco Giants. For Matt Cain, a pitcher who has struggled to get the run support he deserves, after signing a five-year contract extension this season, a perfect game in a 10-0 win is a fitting reward for an already illustrious career.