Five years ago today, Matt Cain was perfect. The San Francisco Giants had a night of perfection for the first time in their 100+ year franchise history.
The San Francisco Giants finally had their perfect night. After plenty of no-hitters over their franchise history, and plenty of close-calls for other pitchers in the early years of the Giants’ dynasty, Matt Cain was perfect.
Cain struck out 14 in 9 perfect innings on 125 pitches, 86 strikes. The Giants destroyed the Astros. But with the scoreline at 10-0 before the 6th inning, it was clear that with the result pretty much a lock, the only thing left to be decided was whether or not he would have a no-hitter or perfect game.
We all know the moments, we all know “The Catch” from Gregor Blanco. We know the call. That incredible call from Duane Kuiper, “Arias from deep third………GOT HIM!” A call I’ll never forget. So where were you when Matt Cain threw a perfect game?
I was just getting into my hotel room in Bourbonnais, Illinois. It was time for freshman orientation at Olivet Nazarene University, home of Ben Zobrist. I wasn’t used to Chicago, had no reason to watch the Cubs (they were awful back then), so I just naturally turned the TV to ESPN. It was late, maybe 10:15 or 10:30 at that time. Immediately when I saw the scrolling ticker on ESPN, it said “Matt Cain has perfect game through five innings.” I yelled at my mom who was washing her hands. She proceeded to scold me for yelling late in a hotel room, which was fair.
The Blanco catch was the big moment for me. I was yelling, my mom was shushing me. At that moment I knew it was going to happen. When Arias nailed that throw to first, I had to use a pillow to stifle my shouts for joy, since it was nearly midnight. An incredible moment, different from the postseason ones we’ve gotten this decade.
You’ve heard from me, now hear the stories from some of our contributors:
"I did not have the game on until the 7th inning. I was out to dinner and hadn’t noticed the score. When I arrived home, I turned on the game and saw we were winning 10-0. I didn’t even see the 0 under hits at first. After I realized what was happening, I yelled to my wife that Matt Cain had a no hitter going. I didn’t even know yet that it was a perfect game. The first at bat I saw was the Gregor Blanco catch. I cheered as loudly at the catch as I did Brian Wilson striking out Nelson Cruz in 2010. When Joaquin Arias stumbled for the final out, my heart sank. When he still made the throw, I was as excited as winning that first championship. My favorite Giant had done something historic that no other Giant had ever done before."
"I believe I was watching at home getting more and more nervous as the game went on. When Jordan Schafer hit it into triples alley I didn’t think Blanco had a chance, but he came flying out of nowhere and that’s when I thought nothing was going to stop Cain from making history. Kuipers final out call still plays in my head today. I was actually supposed to go to that game with friends and we decided to go the day before because none of us have ever seen Bumgarner pitch before. A good friend of mine who’s an A’s fan was actually at the perfect game and of course rubbed it in after."
"I didn’t get to start watching until the 6th inning. Chris Snyder hit a ball in that inning that looked like it was going to clear half of the Left-field bleachers. Somehow it seemed to hit an invisible wall and fell right into Melky Cabrera’s glove at the wall. At that point I knew this night could be special. The very next inning, Blanco’s catch was even more unreal. Still to this day I can’t believe he made that catch. Then in the 9th inning I couldn’t move. I was excited and anxious with every pitch. When Belt caught the final throw from Arias, I screamed at the top of my lungs and gave my dad a hug. Just like two years ago, we had witnessed history again."
Hopefully we have more moments like this in the future. If not? We have this to hold on too. Separate from the World Series titles, it’s a rare individual feat that no person who witnessed that game will ever forget.
Now we turn it to you, the readers. Where were you? Where you at the game? Share your memory of that game with us either in the comments below, or with our twitter page @roundthefoghorn.