MLB Notebook: Cain perfect, Dickey close
On June 13, 1905, at Chicago's West Side Grounds, future Hall of Famers Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown and Christy Mathewson tangled for the fifth time in what would turn out to be a 14-year, 24-match heavyweight fight.
On this particular day, the two right-handers were dealing. Brown allowed only one hit through the first eight innings, then finally surrendered a run in the top of the ninth. That was all Matty would need that afternoon, for he was about as perfect as one can be.
Unfortunately, his team was not.
The New York Giants committed two errors in that game for the only two baserunners allowed. Mathewson stranded the first baserunner at third, the second was retired on a double play. And after just one hour and 25 minutes, Mathewson had his second career no-hitter.
The Giants would have to endure 107 more years and a change in home cities before they could lay claim to their first perfect game.
On Wednesday, Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in baseball history, striking out 14 in the Giants' 10-0 win over the Astros. The right-hander threw 125 pitches, made first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 27 Houston batters and got six ground-ball outs and seven fly-ball outs.
Some other numbers of note:
Cain's perfect game was the second of the 2012 season, following Philip Humber's gem for the White Sox on April 21. This marks the third time there have been two perfectos in a season. In 1880, Lee Richmond and Monte Ward tossed the first two perfect games in baseball history, and in 2010, Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay authored perfect games over a span of 21 days.
Cain's perfect game was the first in Giants history, the 14th no-hitter for the franchise (the first since Jonathan Sanchez's on July 10, 2009), the 134th no-hitter in National League history, the ninth perfect game in NL history, the fifth perfect game in the past four seasons and the fifth no-hitter this season.
Cain's 14 strikeouts matched Sandy Koufax's mark (Sept. 9, 1965) for the most in a perfect game.
Cain's perfecto produced a game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) of 101. The score is the highest since Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout, one-hit performance on May 6, 1998 produced a 105. Cain's score ties him with Koufax in his perfect game and Nolan Ryan on May 1, 1991 (no-hitter with 16 strikeouts and two walks) for the second-highest in a nine-inning game in the live-ball era.
|Amos Russie||July 31, 1891||Brooklyn||6-0|
|Christy Mathewson||July 15, 1901||St. Louis||5-0|
|Christy Mathewson||June 13, 1905||Chicago||1-0|
|Hooks Wiltse||July 4, 1908||Philadelphia||1-0|
|Jeff Tesreau||Sept. 6, 1912||Philadelphia||3-0|
|Rube Marquard||April 15, 1915||Brooklyn||2-0|
|Jesse Barnes||May 7, 1922||Philadelphia||6-0|
|Carl Hubbell||May 8, 1929||Pittsburgh||11-0|
|Juan Marichal||June 15, 1963||Houston||1-0|
|Gaylord Perry||Sept. 17, 1968||St. Louis||1-0|
|Ed Halicki||Aug. 24, 1975||New York||6-0|
|John Montefusco||Sept. 29, 1976||Atlanta||9-0|
|Jonathan Sanchez||July 10, 2009||San Diego||8-0|
|Matt Cain||June 13, 2012||Houston||10-0|
On April 13 this season, Cain threw a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and no walks, producing a game score of 96. With the 101 score in the perfect game, he is the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002 to have a pair of starts in a season with scores of at least 96. Before Johnson, Pedro Martinez did it in 2000 and David Wells accomplished the feat in 1998. Cain is the only Giants pitcher in the live-ball era to do this.
Cain now has three career starts with game scores of at least 94. That is the second-most for any Giants pitcher in the live-ball era, behind Juan Marichal's five.
Cain became the third pitcher to have multiple starts this season with at least 11 strikeouts and no walks (joining teammate Madison Bumgarner and R.A. Dickey). Cain and Bumgarner are the only two Giants pitchers in the live-ball era to have a pair of these games in a single season.
Dickey improved to 10-1 on the season, pitching a one-hitter and striking out 12 with no walks as the Mets defeated the Rays, 9-1. Dickey's line produced a game score of 95, tying him with Justin Verlander (on May 18) and Jered Weaver (in his no-hitter on May 2) for the fourth highest score this season.
Dickey set a new career high with the 12 K's, exceeding his previous best of 11. The 11 came on May 22 this season, when the right-hander also issued no walks. Dickey is the fourth pitcher in Mets history to have multiple games with at least 11 K's and no walks in a season, joining Jerry Koosman in 1976, Dwight Gooden in '84 and Sid Fernandez in '89. Each of the three previous pitchers to do it for the Mets had exactly two.
Dickey has struck out at least eight in six straight starts. During the stretch, he had 58 K's and four walks (one walk for every 14.5 strikeouts). The most recent pitcher to have a streak of at least six games with at least eight K's and maintain -- over the entirety of the streak -- a K:BB ratio of at least 14:1 was Curt Schilling in 2002.
Before allowing an unearned run in the ninth Wednesday, Dickey ran his scoreless streak to 32 2/3 innings and passed Koosman (31 2/3 straight scoreless innings in 1973) for the longest scoreless streak in Mets history.
With the one-hitter, Dickey became the seventh pitcher in Mets history to have multiple complete games with no more than one hit allowed. Tom Seaver is the all-time franchise leader, with five.
Dickey is the eighth pitcher in Mets history to have 10 or more wins through the club's first 63 games. Only Koosman (11 in 1968) and Bobby Jones (11 in '97) had more.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.