Thursday, June 14, 2012
PERFECT AS CAIN BE
For the longest tenured Giant, the workhorse of the staff and a World Series Champion, this game has been the most exciting chapter in the legend that is Matt Cain.
For the first time in the Giants 128 year history, we have our first perfect game.
Early on, this game was a laugher. Home runs from Melky Cabrera and then Brandon Belt quickly made all Giants fans at ease. What we didn't know then, was that 1 run was all Cain needed. He later credits that offensive barrage as helping to calm his nerves and just go out and make his pitches, not worrying about the score.
But that's just one reason a perfect game is called perfect. A perfect game showcases a complete team effort on offense, defense and most of all pitching. This one was no different.
With one out in the 6th inning, Melky Cabrera went back on a ball absolutely crushed by Chris Snyder. An out that Angel Pagan couldn't believe even occurred. "I had the best view and that ball went out," Pagan said. "It went out, and then it banana-cut and then came back."
"It was just one of those things, I asked [Snyder] at home plate and he said, 'I got the whole thing,'" Pagan said. "I told him that ball was 10 rows out, and then it came back and Melky made a play. It was something I've never seen."
An inning later, Gregor Blanco made sure that this night would be remembered forever. With none out, Jordan Schafer smashed a ball to the left of triples alley, it appeared as if Matt Cains' magical run was destined to end. So naturally it was Blanco playing right field at the time hustling all the way over to center and diving to make a spectacular catch. Matt Cain thrust both hands in the air and later tipped his cap to Blanco as he had done to Cabrera the inning before.
"Melky got that great catch in left field, and I said to myself, 'If you get a ball like that one over there, you better catch it," Blanco said. "And I did, and it feels really good."
In the bottom half of the 7th up comes Matt Cain to the plate. Right before the at-bat announcers noticed that Cain had a small chat with Bruce Bochy before, and assumed Bochy was telling Cain to just take 3 pitches. He took 1, and let loose a savage swing for the left field fences, but a miss. The announcers and probably the thousands of people watching were all wondering: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" On top of that, when Cain ended up grounding out, he busted down to 1st base as if the game depended on it.
Later when asked about that chat he had with Bochy, Cain explained that he had just told Bochy that he was going to try and ambush this guy. Bochy replied 'Yeah go for it!'
By the time Brandon Crawford threw out the last out of the 8th inning, AT&T Park was poised to witness something special. Something never witnessed in the history of the Giants and only 21 times previously in the history of baseball.
With two quick fly outs to Melky Cabrera, the last out made us all cringe. Jason Castro was at the plate as a pinch hitter, who's only other at-bat against Matt Cain had resulted in his first career home run. Cain worked him to a 1-2 count when Castro bounced one close to the third base line. Joaquin Arias ranged to his right to field it and then stumbles a bit to the right, with no momentum he gunned a throw to Brandon Belt at 1st base and the party started.
Matt Cain had completed the first perfect game in Giants history and had tied Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts in a perfect game with 14.
What Cain't he do?
Matt Cain's perfect game also required the most work, 125 pitches is now the highest pitch total for a perfect game. I'm sure Matt wouldn't have it any other way.