The reflection of perfection, the number one selection

In the last four years, San Francisco Giants fans have witnessed a no-hitter, a World Series, and now, a perfect game. There has not been a better time to be a Giants fan than the last four years. It was hard for me to write that statement considering all the players who have worn the orange and black, from Willie Mays to Barry Bonds to Will Clark to Will McCovey and Juan Marichal. But the here and now is where it’s at.

On Wednesday night in front of a packed house at AT&T, Matt Cain did what only 22 other pitchers in baseball history have done. He threw a perfect game. It wasn’t just any perfect game either.

Check out radio show Brian Murphy’s tweet about just how special Cain’s perfect game was:

I didn’t pick up the game until the third inning as I saw my Twitter feed blow up after Brandon Belt hit yet another home run. I’ve been pro-Belt since he’s come up to the Giants and I hear it when he does well and when he’s not playing well.

It didn’t even dawn on me that Cain was perfect, but it was because it was so early in the game. I don’t even take no-hitters seriously until it’s the 7th inning. My ears perked up when I heard that he had already reached double digit strikeouts by the 6th inning.

And then came Gregor Blanco’s catch. It was an amazing catch. I’m sure people will bring up better catches in baseball, but with these kinds of stakes? ESPN’s David Schoenfield says it’s the greatest catch he’s ever seen.

I figured that if he was going to lose it, he’d lose it in the 8th. You see lots of pitchers with seven inning no-hitters. Those last six outs always seem the hardest. After he got through the 8th unscathed and with perfecto intact, I signaled my youngest child downstairs. He and his brother had been playing some online video game. Rather than make them stop to watch history, I didn’t want to jinx the moment. I let them do what they were doing. My oldest was on his lap top and watching the game at the same time. Youngest would go back and forth to his room in between pitches.

(Earlier in the inning, my youngest asked me if he still had his no-hitter. I told him, “Better.” I wasn’t about to even pretend to mouth the words “perfect game”.)

I’d been doing work email throughout most of the late innings both because I needed to and also because I was nervous. I really just wanted to see if he was going to do it. Time was moving too slowly.

(In 2009, Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter that was nearly a perfect game if not for an error by Juan Uribe. I was at a bad date during that game. The date and I were at the bowling alley and every time it was her turn to bowl, I was anxiously checking my phone or watching the small TV trying to figure out what was going on. The date was so boring that I was bowling left-handed just to entertain myself.)

He got two flyouts from the first two batters in the 9th and I watched both balls in the air, but looked back at my email before Melky Cabrera caught them both. I had to be casual just like I was in the other innings. Couldn’t jinx it. Only when pinch-hitter Jason Castro grounded out to Joaquin Arias did I allow myself to even cheer. Matt Cain had done it.

His game tied Sandy Koufax for the highest game score in perfect game history.

I asked my fellow SF Giants Heat Check writers to send me their quick thoughts on the evening.

@ButchHusky (http://www.butchhusky.com):

I’ve been waiting seven years for this night. I was there when he took one into the 8th against the Angels. I was there on Opening Day when all he gave up was a hit to the pitcher. I watched this one from the couch, but I couldn’t care less. My heart was primed to explode after one turn through the batting order. Anyone could see he had it going tonight. Like that scene in “Eight Men Out” when Eddie Cicotte decides to screw the gamblers and throw HIS game. (“Forget it, Morty.”) It’s been a long time coming, but Matt Cain is finally King of China Basin.

@DRey2531:

I was nervous just as much as everyone else. I was glad I got to witness the game on TV even though I regret not being there live since I had the chance to go to the game but didn’t go. I thought Cain was getting a lot of “pitcher’s strikes.” His breaking pitches were working very well and he had the batters fooled all night. Cain kept his composure through everything. It was a great job and it was well deserved.

@themarywalton:

I was at the same place I was for Dirty’s (Jonathan Sanchez’s) no-no. At work. Wasnt working this time. But was (once again) the only one at the bar aware of the enormity of the situation. I was looked at like a psycho because once again, the Giants had a significant lead. I’m pretty sure my friend’s right arm is bruised from me punching him after every out Cain made from the 6th on.

I was nervous, giddy, whatever. But I knew the night was special. I also had an oppurtunity to go to the game but couldnt afford to go to both the game tonight and the U.S. Open tomorrow (also in San Francisco). It is one of the best baseball moments I have ever witnessed. Cain deserved to be the first in Giants franchise history to throw a perfect game. Magic.

P.S. Props tp the D. Especially Blanco. What a catch. Holy hell!

@realstephenmar:

I have to say that this was one of the most dominant individual pitching performances I was able to see. Usually we see no hitters and perfect games with low strikeouts and a lot of defensive help but Cain’s 14 strikeouts indicates that over 50% of his outs were solely based on his stuff. Now that’s impressive.

The funniest part about last night was I was at Jasper’s in San Francisco and watching the 9th with my friend who was a Dodger fan. She kept trying to “jinx it.” The dude next to me asked if I wanted to link arms (like what the bench players in college basketball do when there’s a final shot to be taken) and I told them “No, he’s going to get it.” As soon as I said that, the ball was hit to Arias and I started to freak out because he threw flat-footed but once Belt caught it, I jumped in celebration. What a unforgetable night!

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