Cain's Perfection Dominant, Dramatic - NBC Bay Area

Cain's Perfection Dominant, Dramatic



    It seems like a dream on Thursday, but Matt Cain was perfect on Wednesday night. Cain's perfect game seems less real primarily because of how freaking good he was against the Astros.

    But let's make sure you're aware: it is, quite literally, one of the greatest games ever thrown by a pitcher. Game Score, a metric that measures the dominance of a pitcher in each outing, has Cain's perfect game ranked second all-time, behind only Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game.

    Cain's 101 game score is tied with Nolan Ryan's no-hitter (two walks, 16 strikeouts) in 1991 and Sandy Koufax's perfect game (no walks, 14 strikeouts) in 1965. Wood's game was a one-hitter, for the record.

    Only nine pitchers in the history of baseball have produced a Game Score of 100 or higher. Only one pitcher has produced a Game Score higher than 101. And only Sandy Koufax can claim perfection at the dominant level that Cain produced on Wednesday.

    Of course, it wasn't exactly drama-free either. Gregor Blanco's catch in the seventh -- which I've watched roughly 500 times -- is up there with DeWayne Wise's catch to save Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009. Watch it now. Several times.

    Now, most people are saying Wise's catch, which involved a home-run robbery as well as a wall, was better. Perhaps. But I'll take Blanco's catch for a couple of reasons. One, AT&T's outfield is huge. Two, he was out of position in multiple senses, playing right field and playing right field in the wrong spot. Three, when you add the dive onto the warning track and the snowcone catch it's just a gem.

    I literally started screaming in my living room when it happened. The same almost happened when Joaquin Arias fielded the final out of the game. (Kudos to Bruce Bochy for making the defensive switches he did, because the Giants don't win this game if he doesn't.)

    And there was the added drama of the three-ball counts. Cain wasn't pitching to keep a no-hitter alive -- he was pitching for a perfect game. Multiple times late in the game with full counts, Cain went straight at the Astros and, multiple times, told them to grab some pine.

    Eventually when they added up it was 27-straight batters, 14 of whom struck out (seven swinging, seven looking) and Cain had one of the most dominant pitching outings in the history of baseball.