On Tuesday, Madison Bumgarner became the third pitcher in Giants history (since 1900) to hit a home run and strikeout 12-or-more in the same game, joining Juan Marichal and Mike Krukow.
Top that, Matt Cain.
Cain became the 22nd pitcher in MLB history and the first in the long storied history of the Giants franchise to throw a perfect game as he retired 27 consecutive Astros on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
It was a historic night on many occasions.
- The 125-pitch outing was the most pitches thrown in a perfect game.
- That’s because Cain also struck out a career-high 14 batters. Cain tied Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts in a perfect game.
- The 2 hour and 36 minute game was the second longest perfect game history, trailing only David Wells’ perfecto in 1998, which took 2:40.
- And the 10 runs of support the Giants provided Cain were the most runs scored by the winning team in a perfect game. In fact, the 10 runs were more that what the winning teams scored in the previous five National League perfect games combined.
In every no-hitter or perfect game, there are pivotal plays to keep the performance intact.
The first occurred in fourth inning, when Jordan Schafer hit a one-hopper down the first-base line. Replays appeared to show the ball kicking up some chalk about a foot in front of the first base bag. That doesn’t necessarily mean the ball was fair, but it does show how narrowly foul it was (if it was actually foul at all).
First base umpire Mike Muchlinski appeared to flinch, as if he were about to point and call the ball fair before raising his hands and calling it foul.
“There’s not really a good replay that shows anything, but I thought it was fair,” Shafer said. “Just the way it works.”
Houston manager Brad Mills came out to debate the ball.
That was the closest the Astros came to getting a hit … until the sixth inning.
That’s when, with one out, Chris Snyder hit a ball that off the crack of the bat looked like it would be long gone for a home run. But the thick bay air knocked the ball down enough to allow Melky Cabrera to make a catch up in front of the left-field wall.
Then, leading off the seventh, it was Schafer again. Schafer smacked a drive deep into triples alley that right fielder Gregor Blanco raced after and made a diving catch at the warning track to keep the perfecto going.
From there, it was pretty much all Cain.
He got J.D. Martinez to ground out to Joaquin Arias at third in the eighth, with Arias making a nice play on a slow roller. Brett Wallace struck out for K No. 14, and Chris Johnson grounded out to short.
In the ninth, Brian Bogusevic flied out to Cabrera in foul territory. Snyder flied out to Cabrera for out No. 2. Then Jason Castro grounded to deep third with Arias making the strong throw to first for the final out.
And the celebration was on. The Giants spilled out of the dugout as Buster Posey lifted Cain with a bear hug. After the initial mob scene, Cain spent time sharing congratulatory hugs with every teammate. Then Cain hoisted Gregor Blanco with an extra hug of thanks.
Ten runs scored for the Giants. Three home runs for the Giants (Cabrera, Brandon Belt and Blanco). A perfect game from Matt Cain. Could the night get any better than that?
Oh yeah, the Dodgers lost, too.