It was none of the 3 homeruns hit by the Giants in Wednesday nights’ game that made it a night to remember. Nor was it the 15 hits the Giants’ had. Though they both contributed to the 10-0 win over the Astros Wednesday, it was Matt Cain who stole the show, throwing a perfect game.
Wednesday June 13, 2012 Matt Cain became the first pitcher in Giants franchise history to throw a perfect game. He was just the 22nd pitcher in MLB history to complete the task. 27 batters came up to hit, and every single one of them was shut down. No hits, no walks. Not a single Astros player made it to first base.
In the 7th inning Cain threw his 13th strikeout, a career high. It was the first record he’d break that night, but certainly not the last. Along with throwing a perfect game, he recorded a career high 14 strikeouts.
Matt Cain is the San Francisco Giants. He was the Giants first round draft pick in 2002. He came up through the Giants system, and made his major league debut with the Giants in 2005. He helped bring the World Series title to San Francisco for the first time in 2010. He just signed a long-term contract guaranteeing his home in San Francisco. And, until now, he has been gravely overlooked.
Cain has always managed to remain cool on the mound, finishing all but one of his 7 seasons with the Giants with an ERA under 4.00. He’s been lucky enough to be a part of a wonderful pitching staff. But it’s had its disadvantages. Cain has been living in the shadow of Tim Lincecum since Timmy joined the team in 2006. Lincecum has been a great asset to the Giants, winning 2 NL Cy Young awards in his time with them and helping win the World Series title. But with Lincecums’ pitching on the rocks, Cain was poised to step into the spotlight and become the Giants’ ace.
That is exactly what Cain has done, all the while remaining humble. When interviewed after the game, Cain drew the attention away from himself and to his teammates Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco for two great catches that preserved the perfect game. He also attributed his win to catcher Buster Posey, who called every pitch from behind the plate. Rightfully so, this was a team effort. The team got the runs when they needed to, caught when they needed to, and made the plays when they needed to. They owed it to Cain.
The offense is notorious for not giving Matt Cain the run support he needs. Tonight the support was there, from the offense and from the fans. Nearly 43,000 fans stood on their feet to watch the final out. I just hope that fan support continues for Cain.
Just two weeks ago I strolled into the Giants dugout store knowing I was going to buy a black Matt Cain jersey. I’d had my sights set on it since last season, but didn’t have the funds to make that dream a reality. On this day my Dad was in a good mood, and said, “Let’s go down to the park early and get you that Cain jersey.” Imagine my disappointment when I learned that they didn’t make Cain jerseys in women’s sizes. Apparently he “isn’t too popular with the ladies.” In that moment, I lost some respect for female Giants fans. Luckily I have a father who loves me, and allowed me to get the Cain jersey custom made. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I am the last person to have to do that. Send that memo to the dugout store: Make Cain Jerseys ASAP. Show the man the love he deserves.