Last night, Matt Cain, one of the Giants’ most beloved pitchers, threw the first perfect game in franchise history. It was a historic night, especially because he did it in front of a sellout crowd at AT&T Park.
Here’s how the sports world reacted:
Cain Steps Out of the Shadows and Into History With Perfect Game — Sports Illustrated
In recent years, Lincecum has been the face of the Giants franchise, the pitcher who earned the big awards and national recognition. But Cain — who has never seemed to be bothered by, and may have actually liked the excess of, the attention his teammate received — was the backbone of the rotation. While the baseball world marveled at how Lincecum delivered, Cain received no such accolades. There is nothing mysterious about Cain, a big, strong pitcher who throws hard and gets people out. Though the immediate storyline nationally may be that Cain stepped up at a perfect time this season, as Lincecum is struggling, that spin doesn’t play in the Giants clubhouse. Cain has been stepping up his entire career.
You can make the argument that this was the greatest game ever pitched. Of the 22 perfect games in MLB history, only Sandy Koufax matched Cain’s 14 strikeouts. Using the Bill James Game Score method, this ties Koufax and Nolan Ryan’s 16-strikeout, two-walk no-hitter for the second-highest nine-inning score at 101, behind only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout, one-hitter that scores 105.
San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain Makes Perfection Look Easy, Inevitable — Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
This has been in the works for a while, but on this night, Cain absolutely became Mr. Giant — their greatest player, their heart, and the man who just made perfection look inevitable.
Matt Cain Throws the First Perfect Game in Giants History — McCovey Chronicles
The first perfect game in Giants history. One-hundred-and-twenty-nine-plus seasons and 19,781 games without a perfect game. It had to be Matt Cain. He could have retired to fight crime yesterday, and he still would have been one of the most legendary pitchers in the history of an ancient franchise. Instead, he keeps adding to the damned legend. And it is so, so glorious.
With Perfect Game Comes Cain’s Recognition at Last — San Francisco Chronicle
Cain finally earned a just reward for his difficult labors, a World Series ring. Just before this season, he earned a nine-figure contract. But truth be told, he still had not earned the national recognition he deserved. On Wednesday night, he finally did.
Anatomy of Perfection: Cain Inning by Inning — CSN Bay Area
In the seventh, Giants manager Bruce Bochy took Pablo Sandoval out, inserted Brandon Crawford at shortstop and moved Joaquin Arias to third base. An inning before that, he substituted Emmanuel Burriss at second base for Theriot. The earlier move was designed to give Theriot a rest and get Burriss some playing time in a blowout game. But the changes in the seventh had perfection in mind. They paid off in the eighth, as Martinez hit a slow roller that Arias charged and threw accurately on the run.
Cain Doesn’t Forget the Umpires, Etc. — Andrew Baggarly’s ExtraBaggs
Cain on his pregame routine, which was centered around his daughter, Hartley Mae: “When you wake up, I’ve got to worry about my crazy little 1½ year old right now. I get to relax and figure out what she’s thinking, which is not easy. We ate breakfast at Townsend, went to the dog park and hung out, played around for a little while and came to the park like normal.”
Giants Extra: Perfect Game Notes — San Jose Mercury News
Dustin Johnson held a golf exhibition on the field before the game, one that brought pretty much every player in the clubhouse out onto the field. Johnson hit drives with Clay Hensley and J.T. Snow before Cain was goaded into taking a swing. Cain looked to general manager Brian Sabean, sitting in the stands, for approval. “If you’re hitting, I’m not going to watch,” Sabean said to Cain, who signed a $127.5 million contract extension before the season. Cain stepped up and on his first and only swing he calmly crushed one 300-plus yards into McCovey Cove.