Did Cain pitch greatest game in baseball history?

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Did Cain pitch greatest game in baseball history?

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For all those Giants masterpieces, from Christy Mathewson to Juan Marichal to Gaylord Perry, this one by Matt Cain topped them all. Cain pitched the franchise's first perfect game and the 22nd in major league history, striking out a career-high 14 and getting help from two spectacular catches to beat the Houston Astros 10-0 on Wednesday night. Cain's 125-pitch gem for San Francisco featured a pair of great plays by his corner outfielders. He got pinch-hitter Jason Castro on a grounder to third for his 27th and final out with the sellout crowd of 42,298 roaring. "This is incredible right now," Cain said. "It was unbelievable. The guys did a great job making it, in a way, kind of relaxing, because they were able to get on the board early." It was the fifth no-hitter in the majors already this season and second perfect game. Another Year of the Pitcher? You bet. In the very ballpark where Barry Bonds made home run history five summers ago, Cain produced the signature moment for pitchers. It was the 14th no-hitter in club history -- Mathewson pitched Nos. 2 and 3 in 1901 and '05, and fellow Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell, Marichal and Perry had one apiece. Left fielder Melky Cabrera chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth, scurrying back to make a leaping catch at the wall. Cain raised both arms and slapped his glove in delight when Cabrera made the play. Then, right fielder Gregor Blanco ran into deep right-center to make a diving catch on the warning track and rob Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh. The 27-year-old pitcher hugged Blanco in the dugout after the inning. "Those were unbelievable catches," Cain said. "I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing." Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox tossed the majors' last perfecto at Seattle on April 21. This is the second time in three years there have been two perfect games in the same season -- before that, the only other time it happened was in 1880. Cain (8-2) accomplished a feat last done in the Bay Area by A's lefty Dallas Braden on Mother's Day 2010. Braden tweeted Wednesday night: "What a beautiful game. Congrats 2 Matt Cain & a historic franchise & city. A special memory ill tell someones kids about! (hash)eraofthepitcher." Not since 1917 have there been five no-hitters in a season by mid-June. The only year that came close was 1990, when Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Stewart each pitched no-hitters on June 29 -- the fourth and fifth of the season. This year, Johan Santana tossed the New York Mets' first no-hitter on June 1 and six Seattle pitchers shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers last Friday. Jered Weaver had one for the Los Angeles Angels on May 2. The Astros were no-hit for the fifth time and first since Carlos Zambrano did so for the Cubs on Sept. 14, 2008. "Just an incredible night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were all pulling so hard." The Giants made a big commitment to Cain this spring, locking him up for a long haul -- and he showed exactly why general manager Brian Sabean has vowed to keep his talented pitchers. In a week when the city's attention turned to golf and the U.S. Open, Cain delivered his most impressive gem yet in his 216th career start. The 125 pitches were the most ever thrown in a perfect game. The two-time All-Star who had long been the Giants starter who endured a lack of run support already was rewarded with a new 127.5 million, six-year contract in early April before the season started. This certainly meant as much or more to the homegrown pitcher. Cain threw 86 pitches for strikes, faced just four full counts and still clocked 90 mph in the ninth. Cain followed up Madison Bumgarner's 12-strikeout gem in Tuesday night's 6-3 win. "I know when I haven't given up a hit, I'm always conscious of it," Cain said. "Probably the first time through the lineup I felt like I had good stuff. The first time through the lineup I felt like something could happen." Something special, all right. It was the first no-hitter by San Francisco since departed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez did it July 10, 2009, against the Padres at AT&T Park. The Astros were no-hit by the Giants for the second time. Marichal did it on June 15, 1963. Even Cain thought Snyder had enough to clear the fences in the sixth. That's when the Astros realized it might be a long night. "When the ball I hit doesn't go out and the ball that Schafer hits is caught ... I've never seen a ball hit like that into that gap," Snyder said. Blanco said of his catch: "I didn't think I was going to make it, but I did," Ted Barrett became the first umpire to work behind the plate for two perfect games. He also worked David Cone's 1999 perfecto at Yankee Stadium. "He could put the ball anywhere he wanted," Barrett said. "He knew where he wanted to throw it, and he threw it there. Cone had the big, big backdoor breaking ball. It was against the Expos and I don't think they had faced him before. They were a little bit baffled by Cone's stuff." Cain pivoted on the mound to watch third baseman Joaquin Arias make a long throw for the final out, then the celebration began. First baseman Brandon Belt caught the last throw, tucked the ball in his back pocket for safekeeping and rushed to the mound. Catcher Buster Posey ran out to Cain, who raised his arm. His teammates jumped the dugout rail as the final out was made, a moment reminiscent of that improbable World Series championship in 2010 at Texas. "I can't thank Buster enough," Cain said. "I didn't even question once what he was calling." Cain's wife, Chelsea, fought tears when shown in the stands as the celebration began, then made her way to the dugout for a congratulatory hug and kiss. Cain had come close already this season -- not once, but twice. In his second start of the year, in the team's home opener April 13, he one-hit the Pirates in a 5-0 win, then allowed only two hits over nine innings in the Giants' 11-inning, 1-0 win over Cliff Lee and the Phillies. "I've had some opportunities in the past. There's really nothing like it," Cain said. Cabrera, Belt and Blanco each hit two-run homers and the Giants produced an offensive outburst rarely seen at home this season and rarely seen when Cain has pitched. On this night, he threw nine of his initial 11 pitches for strikes, commanding his repertoire with a dazzling fastball. Cain, who hit one drive into McCovey Cove alongside U.S. Open golfer Dustin Johnson before the game to show off one of his other favorite pastimes, sat by himself in the dugout between innings. J.A. Happ (4-7) lost his fourth straight start after giving up eight runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings. NOTES: Blanco called it the best catch of his career. "I still don't know how he caught that ball," Bochy said. ... Cabrera's first-inning homer marked his first clout at home this year. ... Astros bench coach Joe Pettini will join Tony La Russa's NL All-Star coaching staff. ... Of the 22 perfect games, half have come in the last 24 years. Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden each threw one two seasons ago. ... Castro, who grew up near San Francisco and went to Stanford, had caused Cain problems in the past. Castro hit his first major league homer off Cain in 2010.

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Five observations from Ravens' tight victory over the Jaguars

Five observations from Ravens' tight victory over the Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE – Five instant observations from watching the unbeaten Ravens (3-0) defeat the Jaguars, 19-17, to keep the Jaguars (0-3) winless:

1. The Ravens aren’t pretty, but they are resilient.

— The Ravens made enough mistakes to lose this game, but found a way to win it. Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, Devin Hester muffed a punt, and there were untimely penalties on the offensive line.

Yet, Ravens defensive end Brent Urban made a huge play late in the game, blocking a 52-yard field goal attempt with just over two minutes to play. Then Justin Tucker delivered with a 54-yard field goal, and Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr sealed the win with a last-minute interception.

2. Having Tucker is a huge advantage for the Ravens.

— Tucker’s game-winning field goal, one of his four field goals on the day, was another example of why the Ravens franchised tagged him before giving him a contract extension.  For a team that plays plenty of close games, Tucker is a crucial weapon. There was never a doubt on his game-winning kick as soon as it left his foot.

3. Ravens inside linebacker C. J. Mosley is playing at a high level.

—Mosley had his second interception in two weeks, making an acrobatic grab when he leaped high in the air, and tipped the ball to himself. He also had a batted pass in the fourth quarter that stopped another Jaguars drive. Mosley looks locked in and could be headed for another Pro Bowl season.

4. There is nothing wrong with Flacco’s mobility. 

— The Ravens’ first touchdown came on a seven-yard Flacco scramble, when he escaped the pocket and ran into the end zone untouched, after no Jaguars accounted for him.

Nobody will confuse Flacco with Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. However, Flacco shows no evidence of being gun shy after last season’s season ending knee injury. He also had a six-yard gain on a quarterback bootleg. The knee injury is clearly in Flacco’s rearview mirror.

5. There is something wrong with the Ravens’ rushing attack

— For the third streak week, the Ravens couldn’t move the ball consistently on the ground.

The long run for the day was a 15-yarder by Terrance West (10 carries, 45 yards), but neither he nor Justin Forsett (seven carries, 20 yards) did much business. Melvin Gordon of the Chargers had 102 yards rushing against the Jaguars in Week 2, and the Ravens expected to have more success. It will be hard for them to keep winning against better teams unless their offense finds more balance.

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Redskins get first win, capitalize on turnovers to edge Giants 29-27

Redskins get first win, capitalize on turnovers to edge Giants 29-27

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ— The Redskins went into the Meadowlands and had a back-and-forth slugfest with the Giants. Many of the problems that have plagued them all year were in full display, including an inability to score from the red zone. But they fought and scrapped and took the lead with a 37-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal with 1:51 left.

A diving interception by Su’a Cravens killed a last Giants drive and the Redskins were able to kill the clock and walk out of MetLife Stadium with a 29-27 win.

The Redskins fell behind 14-3 in the first quarter but they battled back to take a 23-21 lead early in the third.

There was what could have been a costly moment at the end of the first half. The Redskins were down at the New York four with six second left in the half. With no timeouts they had one play to try to get into the end zone. But Cousins was sacked and the clock ran out, leaving an easy three and possibly seven points on the table. But, in the end, it didn’t cost the Redskins.

Josh Norman did match up with Odell Beckham for most of the day, as was widely anticipated. Beckham had his moments, catching 7 passes for 121 yards. But Norman’s team left with the win.

Quinton Dunbar became the first Redskin since 200 to have both a reception and an interception on the same game. He caught a 31-yard pass from Tress Way on a fake punt and he made a leaping interception in the end zone to prevent a Giants score.  

 Injury Updates:

CB Bashaud Breeland left the game with a lower leg injury, his return was questionable. He was later downgraded to out with an ankle injury.

C Kory Lichtensteiger left the game in the first quarter after being poked in the eye. He returned the next series.

S DeAngelo Hall left the game in the second quarter with a right knee sprain. He did not return.

WR DeSean Jackson left to game just before halftime to be evaluated for a left knee or ankle injury. He returned to the game in the second half.

G Shawn Lauvao left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

C Kory Lichtensteiger left the game in the third quarter with a calf injury and did not return.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter            

Vereen 1 run (Brown kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 28 yards, 1:05

Drive summary: The Giants went three and out on their first series but Quinton Dunbar touched the punt and New York recovered at the Washington 28. From there Shane Vereen ran for 15 and then Manning went to Sterling Shepard for 12 yards to the one. Vereen went right up the middle into the end zone from there and the Redskins’ good start turned bad in a hurry.

Giants 7, Redskins 0 12:18          

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Hopkins FG 49

Drive: 7 plays, 29 yards, 2:43

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position after the kickoff went out of bounds. Chris Thompson ran eight yards for one first down and Cousins went to Pierre Garçon for another. But on third and two Cousins misfired for Jordan Reed and Hopkins came on to boom the long field goal through.

Giants 7, Redskins 3 9:35            

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Shepard 23 pass from Manning (Brown kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:25

Drive summary: Shane Vereen got the Giants to midfield with a 14-yard run up the middle. They Manning tossed a short pass to running back Bobby Rainey, who scooted for 24 yards to the Washington 23. Two plays later Sterling Shepard got a step on Dashaun Phillips and Manning lofted it over his head and into Sterling’s hands for the touchdown.

Giants 14, Redskins 3 6:10          

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FG Hopkins 33

Drive: 11 plays, 60 yards, 5:45

Drive summary: The Redskins got a couple of third-down conversions, one on a pass from Cousins to Reed and another on a pass to Crowder. In between Cousins hit Pierre Garçon over the middle for a gain of 20. But the drive stalled when a pass from Cousins to Crowder was short and Hopkins came in to kick the field goal.  

Giants 10, Redskins 0 0:25          

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Second quarter

FG Hopkins 45

Drive: 7 plays, 9 yards, 3:58

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position on a spectacular 50-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder. They quickly faced a third down but Cousins fired to Garçon for nine yards to convert. But a couple of penalties pushed them back and Hopkins had to come on to boot another field goal.

Giants 14, Redskins 9 8:34          

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Darkwa 2 run (Brown kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:22

Drive summary: The Giants got some penalty help on this drive. First they completed a 15-yard pass to Cruz to convert a third and 13. Then they got some help on a borderline illegal contact call flag on third and 2. After Manning completed a pass to Shepard for 18 yards a roughing the pass call was tacked on, moving the ball to the Washington 17. It took Orleans Darkwa two runs from there to get into the end zone.

Giants 21, Redskins 9 4:12          

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Jackson 44 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 2 plays, 75 yards, 0:32

Drive summary: That was fast. First Cousins launched one to Jackson for 31 yards to the Giants 44. On the next play he went for Jackson in the end zone. The receiver made a grab that withstood a replay review and he got the touchdown.

Giants 21, Redskins 16 3:40       

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Third quarter

Crowder 55 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 50 yards, 1:17

Drive summary: The Redskins got another quick score. They got the ball at midfield following a punt. A holding call left them with third and 15. Cousins threw a screen to Crowder, who picked his way through the defense, getting help from guard Trent Williams, who took out two defenders. Crowder went down the sideline, cut to the middle and completed the 55-yard touchdown pass.

Redskins 23, Giants 21 9:45       

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FG Brown 29

Drive: 9 plays, 64 yards, 3:16

Drive summary: The Giants answered the Redskins touchdown quickly. Manning threw to Cruz on the right sideline and after Greg Toler missed a tackle he scooted for 37 yards to the Washington 38. Then Darkwa scooted for 13, 9 and six yards down to the 10. The drive stalled there and Brown kicked a field goal to put the Giants back on top.

Giants 24, Redskins 23                 

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Fourth quarter

FG Hopkins 25

Drive: 15 plays, 68 yards, 6:32

Drive summary: The Giants answered the Redskins touchdown quickly. Manning threw to Cruz on the right sideline and after Greg Toler missed a tackle he scooted for 37 yards to the Washington 38. Then Darkwa scooted for 13, 9 and six yards down to the 10. The drive stalled there and Brown kicked a field goal to put the Giants back on top.

Redskins 26, Giants 23 14:57     

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FG Brown 30

Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 3:07

Drive summary: The Giants got going with a couple of passes to Beckham, good for 14 and 12 yards. Then Manning went to Vereen for a gain of 16 down to the 20. But Manning to Beckham was short of the line to gain on third down and the Giants retook the lead with a Brown field goal.

Giants 27, Redskins 26 7:53       

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FG Hopkins 37

Drive: 10 plays, 56 yards, 6:02

Drive summary: A roughing the passer penalty gave them a first down at their own 36 and then Matt Jones ran for 6, 3, and 10 yards for a first down in Giants territory. The Jones powered for another first down by getting 12 yards to the 24. On third and three at the 17 Jones was stuffed for a loss and Hopkins came in and gave the Redskins the lead.

Redskins 29, Giants 27, 1:51      

MORE REDSKINS: Beckham Jr. gets into fight with kicking net