Cain certainly has the attention of the national media now. For with the wind streaming right to left at AT&T Park on Wednesday, this 6’3” 230-lb pitcher sailed to greatness.
Cain became the first pitcher in Giants franchise history to throw a perfect game and the 22nd pitcher in MLB history to accomplish this feat.
Cain’s brilliant performance—including 14 strikeouts, a broken bat single, and one spectacular diving play by Gregor Blanco—officially marks the arrival of the long-overdue national respect he deserves.
Equally impressive, Cain also tied Sandy Koufax's record for most strikeouts in a perfect game. Koufax had 14 strikeouts during a perfect game in 1965.
In April, the Alabama native signed a six-year extension with the Giants worth $127 million, according to USA Today sportswriter Bob Nightengale.
Since signing, Cain has certainly lived up to high expectations. With Wednesday’s victory, Cain is now 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA. Cain also has 96 strikeouts to just 16 walks in 95 innings pitched. Cain’s WHIP shrunk to 0.85, as batters are hitting just .192 against him. For the season, Cain has surrendered just 23 earned runs.
Wednesday was not the first time Cain flirted with a perfect game. On April 14th, Cain carried a perfect game into the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. But of all people, Pirates starting pitcher James McDonald slapped a single to left field in the Giants victory that day.
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Cain has three one-hitters during his career. The first came on May 21, 2006 against the Oakland Athletics. The second was on May 28, 2010 versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. The third of course came against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cain’s performance thrust him into strong contention for the 2012 NL Cy Young Award, alongside New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey (10-1 with a 2.20 ERA) and St. Louis Cardinals standout Lance Lynn (10-2 with a 2.42 ERA).
But more importantly for Cain, Wednesday’s performance will go down as one of the best in big league history.