This Day In Sports: Perfect night during the Giants’ golden era

June 13, 2012: Matt Cain throws the first perfect game in the Giants 130-year franchise history—New York or San Francisco—in a 10-0 blanking of the Houston Astros. Cain’s 125 pitches were the most ever thrown in a perfect game. But he struck out a career-high 14 batters, tying Sandy Koufax for the highest strikeout total in a perfect game, in a dominant performance before a frenzied sellout crowd at AT&T Park. As I mentioned in another feature on perfect games three weeks ago, Cain’s was the second of three perfect outings in 2012—and there hasn’t been one since.

Cain went into the evening in a relaxed state of mind, as he and PGA Tour standout Dustin Johnson hit golf balls into McCovey Cove off home plate before the game. There were other notables on the historic night. The 10 runs scored by the Giants were the most ever in a perfect game. One of them was tallied by Cain, the first pitcher to score one in his own perfect game. As always in these gems, it took a couple dynamic defensive plays to keep the thing going—Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco each made heartstopping catches in the outfield.

The moment came during a stretch in time when the Giants could do little wrong. In 2010, they had won their first World Series since moving to San Francisco, winning the National League West and going on to beat the Texas Rangers four games-to-one in the Fall Classic. In 2012, Cain’s perfect game provided some of the momentum that carried the Giants to the NL West crown and a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the Series. And in 2014, San Francisco did it the hard way, having to win the NL Wild Card game before taking the Divisional Series and NLCS to get to the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. That one went seven games, capped by Madison Bumgarner’s legendary five innings of shutout relief to finish Game 7.

No-hitters were part of the Giants’ legacy during that championship run. Cain’s perfecto marked the first of four consecutive years the Giants logged a no-hitter, the first major league team in 50 years to do that. Tim Lincecum followed with no-nos in both 2013 and 2014, and rookie Chris Heston tossed one in 2015, the year after San Francisco’s third title. (The Los Angeles Dodgers had last accomplished the feat from 1962-65, with each of the no-hitters thrown by Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.)

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *