SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Cain tossed and turned and managed all of about four hours of sleep following his history-making gem for the Giants.
Cain’s perfect game will be remembered among the most masterful pitching performances in regular-season baseball history, if not ever.
San Francisco’s ace right-hander dominated the Houston Astros every which way Wednesday night in a 10-0 win for the 22nd perfect game ever and the fifth no-hitter already this year.
He struck out a career-best 14 batters, making up more than half of his 27 straight outs and tying Sandy Koufax for most Ks in a perfecto. Cain (8-2) threw 19 first-pitch strikes and never faced a 2-0 count in winning his career-high seventh straight start.
“I’m still pumped,” said Cain, who was back on the field playing catch with fellow starter Madison Bumgarner by 10:15 a.m. Thursday after a workout. “I haven’t really had a ton of time to sit down and look over stuff, see how it all happened. I don’t know that it has hit me yet, maybe when I can sit down and watch the highlights, go over the game.”
Add in a pair of improbable catches by Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco to preserve the bid, and Cain wound up with the first perfect game in the franchise’s storied 130-year history and its 14th no-hitter.
He threw 125 pitches - most ever in a perfect game - and 86 of those for strikes. Seven of his strikeouts were called. He didn’t shake off catcher Buster Posey even once. They were in sync on this memorable evening, all right.
“It’s something I always wanted to do since I was little, but it’s kind of a blur when it actually happens,” Cain said.
Cain followed up Bumgarner’s 12-strikeout night Tuesday, and they became the first Giants pitchers to record consecutive double-digit strikeout games since Vida Blue and John Montefusco in May 1978.
“Things like this bring a team together even more,” San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy said. “That’s the first one I’ve seen. It was an incredible night.”
Cain, 27, showed glimpses of his potential for perfection in consecutive starts in mid-April. There was a one-hitter against Pittsburgh in the home opener, then nine shutout innings against Cliff Lee and the Phillies in a 1-0, 11-inning Giants victory his next time out - a memorable game in which the aces combined to throw 19 scoreless innings.