This Day in Baseball History — Matt Cain’s Perfect Game

Arias from deep third — got him!

KQED

One of my favorites games in baseball history is Matt Cain’s perfect game. It’s the only one I’ve seen as it played out. I was watching MLB Network and they cut in around the sixth inning. They do that a lot when a pitcher takes a no-no into the later half of the game, but this one just felt different.

And it happened on this day, 10 years ago: June 13, 2012.

So let’s watch the game together. I’m writing this in real-time with the game, so please bear with me when it comes to the bullet-point, quick thought nature of the writing.

That run for the Giants was insane. Three titles in five years? I think about that a lot.

National League Astros! Ugly colors! Ugly uniform! Ugly logo! Love it.

I loved Panda Pablo Sandoval when he played on the Giants and was thrilled when he came over to the Red Sox. What a disaster that was…

Astros J.D. Martinez! I forgot that this lineup was low-key stacked.

First pitch a strike. A good sign…

Is AT&T Park as awesome as it looks on tv? Can’t wait to go there one day. I guess it’s Oracle Park now.

One strikeout. Thirteen more to go.

Damn this rotation was stacked. They’re showing a graphic with Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Madison Bumgarner — they haven’t collected a loss in their last 16 combined starts.

Two Ks. Twelve more to go.

Jed Lowrie has quietly banged his whole career. Underrated. Too bad he had to be in the lineup on June 13, 2012.

“Nice inning for Cain.” — There are gonna be eight more of those!

MELKY CABRERA WAS HITTING .426 AGAINST LEFTIES?

69.1 innings on the season for J.A. Happ. Nice.

They’re talking about how to pronounce J.A. Happ and it’s RIVETING. Did you know that it’s pronounced “Jay” or that J.A. doesn’t stand for anything? “It’s not James Andrew Happ. His first name is literally J period A period and he pronounces it ‘Jay’!”

Holy cow, jetpack guy over the cove! San Fran games seem crazy.

I love that they can’t let it go. James Bond jetpacking won’t even be the coolest thing to happen today.

MELKY CABRERA! .426 against lefties was no fluke — a bomb to left-center! I don’t remember him being this kind of player, a three-hole guy. Wow. “Tape measure — big fly!”

They’re still talking about Mr. Mission Impossible.

How many celebrity first pitches have actually been strikes? They’re showing golfer Dustin Johnson’s toss and it stunk. And he clearly couldn’t care less about baseball.

3–1 count for Cain. Dangerous! Will he walk him?

Of course not, he strikes him out on a nasty slider.

I would love to hear a Dennis Eckersley commentary on this game.

They just showed Remington Steele again — and I’m running out of spy names!

BRANDON BELT BOMB! This was his first full season — gotta love a career franchise player. What a crazy season he had last year.

I think that Matt Cain had a higher average than Bobby Dalbec does right now.

Love the Cain sac-bunt. I miss pitchers hitting.

They’re talking about Minute Maid Park, home of the ‘Stros — which I found out last night is nicknamed The Juice Box. Did you know that?

Arias with a great slide at home to avoid the tag. He’s gonna have another great play later…

Wow, that really is a beautiful ballpark.

Cain cruising through.

Back to Secret Agent Man — looks like he’s leaving.

One of the things that we don’t get anymore because of the Universal DH is when there were two outs and the nine-hole pitcher is up at the plate. And he would just stand there to try and wrap it up. I have no idea why Cain was pitching around Happ, he wasn’t gonna swing.

After Melky’s home run, his average sneaks above .430 against righties. That’s so rare for a switch-hitter.

And another hit for Melky. Was he really this good? He was leading the majors in muti-hit games — right above Miguel Cabrera.

Buster Posey is a Hall of Famer, change my mind.

Two on, none out. I forgot how much of a blowout this was until I looked at the box score. This is gonna end 10–0 and the SF offensive dominance didn’t even matter. They won this game in the first inning. Why play eight more? Oh yeah…

Panda just swung on a pitch in the other batter’s box…and got a hit. This team was crazy.

Alright, we get the point. Let’s jump to about where I started watching this game (when MLB Network cut in) — the 6th inning.

Emmanuel Burriss is in to play second…need to prioritize defense behind Cain. 10–0 ain’t goin’ anywhere.

Strikeout 10 for Cain.

Snyder hits one three feet from the left-field wall, and Cabrera chases it down on the warning track. The baseball gods were on a mission.

Philip Humber threw a perfect game in April of the same year and King Felix Hernandez would do it in August. And we haven’t seen one since.

“Giants fans know they’re in for something special tonight” paired with, “Cain hasn’t allowed a baserunner” somehow didn’t jinx him.

Cut to the top of the 7th.

Crawford is in to play short while Arias moves from short to third. All about the defense now.

“Long run for Blanco. Blanco’s gonna dive AND HE MAKES THE CATCH” — It truly did feel unbelievable. The amount of ground he had to cover and a desperation dive on the warning track. Insanity.

He should have gotten everyone who played defense for him that night a really nice watch or something. It was a great pitching performance, but arguably even better defense. I can’t wait for the Arias play.

12 strikeouts.

Oh, I see why we don’t have perfect games — no manager would let his pitcher keep going after 100 pitches and seven innings.

Not that there’s anyone I think could do it anyway.

Lowrie LOSES HIS BAT striking out for Cain’s 13th.

NOW CAIN HAS TO BAT! Screw the Universal DH — I miss pitchers batting in their own perfect game. And he’s SWINGING.

Cut to the 8th.

They’re jinxing the hell out of him. Graphics, play-by-play, MLB Network cutting in. And none of it could stop him.

Posey trying so hard to frame some of these.

Posey should have gotten two nice watches.

I remember this — cutting to his wife in the stands. God, she made me so nervous.

Strikeout 14.

I do not understand why the Astros hitters are trying now. Pretend, sure. Don’t roll over. But this is no longer about you trying to win a baseball game.

He’s getting a little crazy with some of his pitches here. His arm probably feels like a paper bag. They’re talking about how he’s thrown over 110 pitches in his last two ABs. That just doesn’t happen anymore.

He’s through eight. I know how it ends and I’m just as nervous as Mrs. Cain.

To the final inning…

Now they’re showing a Giants history of no-hitters. They really didn’t care about the jinx, huh? Cain was just too good.

The crowd groans every time a pitch is called a ball.

25 up, 25 down.

Everybody at the park is on their feet.

Two more pitches and he’s got two down in the ninth.

So we all know how this is about to end. Not only do I think about this game all the time, I think about the call, “Arias — from deep thiiirrrddd….GOT HIM!” all. the. time. Literally every day. It’s ingrained in my memory forever.

Here it is…

Arias — from deep thiiirrrddd….GOT HIM!

And that’s a perfect game!

The team mobs. Posey hugs. Chelsea cries.

And I’ll never forget.

Until next time, folks.

Want to chat Red Sox? Check out Bleacher Brawls.

Want to chat baseball? Email me: theboywholovedjoekelly@gmail.com

Want to keep updated with the column? Find it on Instagram @theboywholovedjoekelly and Twitter @boywholovedmlb

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