Giants' Cain pitches perfect game

2012-06-14T00:35:00Z 2012-06-29T20:04:03Z Giants' Cain pitches perfect gameBy Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News stltoday.com

SAN FRANCISCO • Matt Cain openly has talked of his lifelong dream of throwing a perfect game. It's no longer just a dream.

Cain threw the first perfect game in the Giants' long and storied history Wednesday night, striking out a career-high 14 in a 10-0 victory over the Houston Astros.

"This is unbelievable, this is part of history and something I'm going to remember forever and ever," Cain said. "This is truly amazing."

With plenty of help from the lineup and a couple of stunning plays from his defense, Cain sailed into the ninth inning.

Brian Bogusevic and Chris Snyder flied out for two outs in the ninth, and as the sellout crowd held its collective breath, Cain got Jason Castro to ground out to third to gain the perfect game. The 125 pitches he threw were the most ever thrown in one.

Cain's perfect game was just the 22nd in major league history and second of the season. Chicago White Sox righthander Philip Humber threw one on April 21. It was the first no-hit performance by the Giant since Jonathan Sanchez no-hit the San Diego Padres on July 10, 2009.

Cain took the dominance a step further.

Through five innings, the game featured little drama for Cain, who repeatedly threw first-pitch strikes to the Astros, who were caught looking time after time. But like any bid for history, the defense was tested.

Melky Cabrera made the first highlight play of the night, a leaping grab that secured the second out of the sixth inning. Snyder's blast to left looked like it easily would travel into the left-field bleachers, but the thick San Francisco air knocked dowthe ball n and gave Cabrera time to make the catch just inches in front of the wall.

History again appeared dashed with no outs in the seventh when Jordan Schafer hit a ball deep toward Triples Alley, where home runs go to die but hits rarely do. Gregor Blanco is a center fielder by trade but plays right field in the Giants' alignment. The first-year Giant is fond of saying the outfield features three players with center-fielder skills, and he showed them while chasing Schafer's ball down and making a diving catch on the warning track.

As Blanco held the ball high above his head, a sellout crowd of 42,298 gave him an extended standing ovation.

"Those were unbelievable catches," Cain said. "I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing."

Cain struck out Jose Altuve and Jed Lowrie to end the seventh.

Manager Bruce Bochy pulled out all the stops in the late innings, inserting strong fielders Brandon Crawford and Emmanuel Burriss in the middle infield and moving Joaquin Arias over to third in place of Pablo Sandoval.

The lineup had taken care of the notoriously hard-luck Cain's run support early, scoring 10 runs through through five innings. Cabrera, Brandon Belt and Blanco homered, giving the Giants five homers in the past two games.

Meanwhile, the Astros were no-hit for the fifth time and first since Carlos Zambrano did so for the Cubs on Sept. 14, 2008.

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