Matt Cain delivered the 22nd perfect game in major league history on Wednesday night. But could it be the best pitching performance ever?
That’s the question some are asking following Cain’s perfection.
In addition to not allowing a runner to reach base, Cain struck out 14 and didn’t fall behind 2-0 to any of the 27 hitters he faced. The K total matches Sandy Koufax‘ total on Sept. 9, 1965 for the most strikeouts in a perfect game.
Cain’s gem received a game score of 101, which is tied for the second highest in big league history for a pitcher in a nine-inning game. It matches Koufax’ legendary performance and Nolan Ryan‘s 16-strikeout no-hitter in 1991. The only pitching performance to receive a higher game score in a nine-inning game is Kerry Wood‘s 20-strikeout, one-hitter against the Astros in 1998, which received a 105 game score.
Add up everything, and you have some questioning just how perfect Cain’s perfect game truly was.
“You can make the argument that this was the greatest game ever pitched,” ESPN.com senior writer David Schoenfield said after the game.
That’s been a common theme on Twitter and across the airwaves on Thursday morning, with many folks on the East Coast just now hearing about the incredible accomplishment. Sports fans have a tendency to become victims of the moment, but it’s hard to dispute just how impressive Cain’s performance was.
Cain’s perfect game was the first in Giants history. It probably won’t be the last, but it’s hard to imagine anyone firing a better game any time soon.
Gregor Blanco’s catch was equally as perfect.
I can’t thank [catcher] Buster [Posey] enough. I didn’t even question him once. What he was calling, I was going to throw whatever he wanted and I was going to let him go. Buster did an unbelievable job back there. That was tremendous.
–Matt Cain, sharing the spotlight with his young catcher
Be sure to follow Danny O’Connor‘s live tweets on Thursday at 8 p.m.
Pedro is one guy who always seemed to have perfect game stuff.