06/14/12 3:15 AM ET
Astros marvel at Cain -- and Giants' D
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
This night was about history, though not the kind of history the Astros wanted to experience. This night belonged to Giants right-hander Matt Cain, who plowed through 27 consecutive Astros hitters en route to throwing the 22nd perfect game in Major League history during San Francisco's 10-0 win.
"I thought he started to get tired around the eighth inning, but he was able to right himself and make some pitches when he needed to," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "He threw a good game. You can't take anything away from him. He pitched an absolutely outstanding game, and he deserved everything he got because he threw the ball extremely well."
The Astros, who were no-hit for the fifth time in their 50-year history, were able to step back and appreciate what Cain and catcher Buster Posey were able to accomplish despite Houston's frustration of not having a runner reach base.
"All the respect to both of those guys for the way they worked tonight," Astros catcher Chris Snyder said. "He made some tough pitches. He had some 3-2 counts and threw a couple of 3-2 breaking balls for punchouts. In that situation, it's tough to do. Hats off to both of them."
Cain struck out 14 batters and didn't give the Astros many chances, though Snyder and center fielder Jordan Schafer both put up a threat late in the game.
Snyder flied out to deep left field in the sixth inning, watching Melky Cabrera catch the ball at the wall. Schafer hit a laser into the right-center-field gap in the seventh inning and walked back to the visitors' dugout in amazement after right fielder Gregor Blanco made a diving catch on the warning track.
"They had some guys make some pretty good plays defensively," Mills said. "I thought we had some good at-bats and we had some at-bats we'd like to have back, but at the same time, we did some put some pretty good at-bats together and he was able to make the pitches and make some nice plays."
Snyder was asked at what point he thought Cain was destined to finish off the perfect game.
"When the ball I hit doesn't get out and the ball Schafer hit gets caught," Snyder said. "As long as I've been playing in this park -- and back to 2004, I've played here every year -- I've never seen a ball hit like that into that gap and have a play made on it like that. At that point, you think, 'Yeah, it's his night.' It was a perfect game. Congratulations to both of those guys, Posey and Cain."
Schafer, who nearly doubled in the fourth inning when he hit a grounder that appeared to travel directly over first base, again thought he had extra bases when he led off the seventh with his drive into the gap in right-center.
"When I hit it, I looked up and saw [center fielder Angel] Pagan and I knew there was no way [he would catch it]," Schafer said. "I didn't even look at Blanco. Blanc made a good play. You need those plays in a perfect game. You can't take anything away from him. He was outstanding tonight."
Blanco later gave Schafer a smile when they made eye contact.
"I played with him in Atlanta for a while," Schafer said. "He was making a joke about it, but it was an outstanding play."
Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez got a sinking feeling when he watched Blanco catch the ball.
"When he caught that, you kind of felt like, 'What's going on?' a little bit," Martinez said. "You've just got to tip your hat. There's really nothing to say."
Houston catcher Jason Castro watched most of Cain's dominant night from the bench, but he got a chance to play hero in the ninth inning. Castro, who grew up in the Bay Area, homered off Cain in his third career game in the Major Leagues on June 24, 2010 -- nearly two years to the day before he grounded out to third base for the final out of the perfect game.
"I remember that at-bat," Castro said of his only previous at-bat against Cain.
"Unfortunately, he didn't hang me a changeup this time. He's a great pitcher; he's got everything going tonight. When he's able to mix speeds and change the sightline and get the breaking ball and ride the fastball up, that's why he's effective. He's able to command all four pitches, and that's why he's so successful."