EXTRA BAGGS: Cain doesn't forget the umpires, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Cain doesn't forget the umpires, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO At least Oscar nominees have time to thinkabout the people they should acknowledge.

Matt Cain had no such advantage after throwing the 22ndperfect game in major league history, and the first by a Giant in thefranchises 129-year existence.

Still processing the greatest night of his baseball life, agame on par with Sandy Koufaxs legendary 14-strikeout game in 1965, Cain didall right in the speech department. He credited catcher Buster Posey first, andright fielder Gregor Blanco, who floated like that crazy guy with the hydrojetpack beyond McCovey Cove as he caught Jordan Schafers drive in the seventhinning.

But Cain also took a moment to acknowledge the man perchedbehind Poseys shoulder.

Ive never had that much excitement in every pitch, everystrike, every swing, Cain said. Ted Barrett back there, I made pitches justoff the corner and hes calling it right. Hes gotta hear the whole crowd.Thats got to be a lot of stress on him.He did a great job back there. He was consistent with everything, hecalled a lot of strikes that were on the plate and he stayed the same way thewhole night. He didnt change a bit.

Barrett became the first umpire to work the plate for twoperfect games. He also was calling balls and strikes for David Cones perfectoin 1999 at Yankee Stadium.

Cain went to three-ball counts four times in the game. Onlyonce did Barrett have to make the call between a walk and a strikeout, whenBrett Wallace took a fastball that snapped back across the inside edge in theeighth inning.

Barrett gave Cain just one obvious gift call, when he rangup 5-foot-5 Jose Altuve on a strike above the letters.

Third-base umpire Brian Runge was the home umpire for PhilipHumbers perfect game in April. He also worked the plate for Seattles combinedno-hitter last Friday.

Most notably for Giants fans, Runge worked the plate forJonathan Sanchezs no-hitter on July 10, 2009 which was just a Juan Uribeerror away from being a perfect game.

Cains perfect game was the 22nd in major leaguehistory but the fourth since 2010. The Giants 10 runs were also the mostscored by a team in a perfect game. In fact, the Giants hit three home runs ina home game for the first time this season, and Houston pitcher J.A. Happbecame the first pitcher to surrender multiple homers at AT&T Park sinceMat Latos last September (both to Carlos Beltran).

The last time the Giants had three home runs in a home game,all with at least one runner on base? You have to go back to May 7, 2007, whenBengie Molina homered twice and Rich Aurilia also hit one against the New YorkMets.

Leave it to Cain to steal all the attention from one of thebest offensive nights in recent Giants history.

When the Giants added Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera over thewinter, management envisioned a lineup with more athleticism that could scoreruns in more dynamic ways. But the club also envisioned a defensive outfieldthat could rank among the best in baseball.

That is a special boon for Barry Zito and Cain, who are flyball pitchers. Those guys made a major difference Wednesday night.

Theres nothing better to know youve got guys withtremendous speed in the outfield, Cain said. If it stays in the air, withthee guys speed, more than likely theyll run it down.

There was one change to their game-winning routine: Gregor Blanco,Pagan and Cabrera didnt meet in the outfield for their usual hip-hip-hooraycelebration.

No, we couldnt do it, Pagan said, smiling. We had tohustle to the pile.

As I mentioned the other day, Pagan has admired Cain eversince facing him at Double-A. In San Diego last week, I looked it up andconfirmed Pagans suspicion that hed never gotten a hit off him Hes 0 for 7with two walks.

Ive been facing Matt since 2004 when he was one of thebest pitchers I saw in the minor leagues, and I dont have a hit against himyet, Pagan said. Hes a horse. Hes a competitor. Its so much fun to playbehind him.

You see a lot of pitchers with that twilight-zone look outthere. But hes someplace else.

So will Matt Cain tee up a golf ball and hit it intoMcCovey Cove before every start?

Cain smiled as he looked at club president Larry Baer.

I dont know, am I? Cain said. Am I Larry?

Cain on his pregame routine, which was centered around hisdaughter, Hartley Mae:

When you wake up, Ive got to worry about my crazy little 1 year old right now. I get to relax and figure out what shes thinking, whichis not easy. We ate breakfast at Townsend, went to the dog park and hung out,played around for a little while and came to the park like normal.

I went to Northwestern. So did Astros pitcher J.A. Happ, whogave up eight runs on 11 hits in 3 13 innings.

I can state it objectively: Happ got outpitched.

Matt Cain threw 65 fastballs, 23 sliders, 21 changeups and16 curveballs. Of his 125 pitches, the most ever required to pitch a perfectgame, 85 were strikes.

He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 27 batters hefaced.

Of his career-high 14 strikeouts, 11 came on fastballs. Cainsaid he wasnt trying for strikeouts, but he kept getting in favorable countsand had especially good movement. He kept throwing to the edges and hitting hisspots.

This was the 14th no-hitter in franchise historyand the sixth in the clubs San Francisco era. Along with the Seattle Marinerscombined no-no last week and Johan Santanas on June 1, this is the first monthwith three no-hitters since June, 1990.

The last Giant to no-hit Houston was Juan Marichal on June15, 1963, when the Giants beat the Colt 45s 1-0 at Candlestick Park.

Duane Kuiper played in a perfect game (Len Barker, May 15,1981 at Cleveland). Now he can say he broadcast one, too.

The Giants are 10-3 in Matt Cains starts. Hes won sevenconsecutive starts, which is a career high. His streak of seven consecutivewinning decisions matches his career high, which he set in 2009.

A Tweet from Dallas Braden, who threw his perfect game forthe As two years ago:

What a beautiful game. Congrats 2 Matt Cain & ahistoric franchise & city. A special memory ill tell someones kids about!eraofthepitcher.

Bon chance, Barry Zito. Not only is he following a perfect game,but the Giants are coming off their first consecutive, double-digit strikeoutstarts for the first time in 34 years. Cain (14 strikeouts) and MadisonBumgarner (12) became the first Giants pitchers to fan at least 10 inback-to-back games since Vida Blue (11) and John Montefusco (10) on May 17 and19, 1978.

Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti had a hard timebelieving that, especially since Jason Schmidt had a few years where he struckout 10 in almost every start. I reminded him that Kirk Rueter often followedhim.

Jeez, Ill have to text Woody, Righetti said.

Baseball is all about timing. That goes for the field, thedugout and the press box, too.

This is the one game in the Astros series that Im covering,and it happens to be one of the most historic nights for baseball in SanFrancisco. Ive gotten to cover a perfect game and a four-homer game (ShawnGreen, 2002 at Milwaukee.) How many baseball reporters could call themselvesthat lucky?

Then youve got the 2010 World Series championship, BarryBonds 756th home run and too many great games, epic comebacks andincredible feats to mention. Even the small stuff, like the time I saw threesacrifice flies in an inning, prevail in memory. Or the one triple play I saw in person. (Thanks, Aaron Rowand.)

Thats baseball. Show up, anything can happen. Any humdrumgame is a stage that can lift a player to immortality. So it went, finally,deservedly so, for Matt Cain on an ordinary Wednesday night in mid-June that hellnever forget.

Now if I could just see an unassisted triple play

No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series

CLEVELAND -- Wild Thing will have to stay in the bullpen during the World Series.

While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the movie "Major League" offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices have already been made.

A spokesman told the AP on Friday that MLB has worked with the Indians to identify "former franchise greats" to throw out the first pitch for the games in Cleveland. An announcement is expected early next week.

The Indians host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, Cleveland will host Games 6 and 7 on Nov. 1-2.

There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw the first pitch and be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen got wind of the buzz and responded on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and wrote, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

Sheen made an appearance during the playoffs at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Released in 1989, "Major League" is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players including Vaughn, who struggled to find the strike zone and warmed up to "Wild Thing," a No. 1 hit song in 1966 by The Troggs.

The real Cleveland Indians, who overcame injuries to win the AL Central, before knocking off Boston and Toronto in the playoffs, took a page from "Major League" this season.

Slugger Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis constructed a shrine in an empty clubhouse stall between their lockers like one in the movie. In the film, character Pedro Cerrano practices Voodoo and prays to an idol named, "Jobu" to help him hit curveballs.

Like Cerrano, Napoli and Kipnis have their own "Jobu" and have left gifts, including small bottles of rum and cigars, to keep them out of hitting slumps.

Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


Cubs homer twice in win over Dodgers; tie NLCS 2-2


LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and the rest of the Chicago Cubs' bats broke out in a big way.

Rizzo homered and ended a postseason slump with three RBIs, Russell's two-run drive highlighted a four-run fourth that stopped Chicago's 21-inning scoreless streak, and the Cubs routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 on Wednesday to even the NL Championship Series at 2-all.

Kenta Maeda is set to pitch for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday against Jon Lester. Before the game, manager Dave Roberts said he will not start Clayton Kershaw on short rest after the Los Angeles ace threw a bullpen session Wednesday.

Chicago ensured the NLCS will return to Wrigley Field for Game 6 Saturday.

To break out of his prolonged slump, Rizzo used teammate Matt Szczur's bat.

"I know Szczur's bat has a lot of hits in it," Rizzo said. "I've done it a few times this year, just switching up the bat, switching up the mindset."

Following consecutive shutout losses, the Cubs rapped out 13 hits on an 80-degree night with the warm Santa Ana winds fluttering the flags in center field.

Rizzo and Russell had three hits each. Chicago's 3-4-5 hitters - a combined 2 for 32 in the first three games - busted out. Every Cubs starter got at least one hit except Kris Bryant, who walked twice.

"Today was a must-win for us," Ben Zobrist said.

Los Angeles was limited to six hits and made four errors in a game that dragged on for 3 hours, 58 minutes.

Mike Montgomery won in relief of John Lackey, who was chased after consecutive walks opening the fifth. Four days shy of his 38th birthday, Lackey allowed two runs, three hits and three walks.

Julio Urias, at 20 years, 68 days the youngest postseason starting pitcher in major league history, gave up four runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings. He was the third consecutive left-hander to start the series for Los Angeles.

Chicago rattled off three straight hits to open the fourth, sparked by Zobrist's leadoff bunt single to third.

"With the way that our bats were swinging it at the beginning of the game, we just had to do anything we could. That was my thought process," Zobrist said. "I felt like if he threw a strike, I could get one down in a good spot and was able to do it.

He took second on Javier Baez's single to left, and Willson Contreras followed with a single to nearly the same spot in shallow left, scoring Zobrist.

Baez moved up to third and Contreras took second on left fielder Andrew Toles' errant throw to the plate that skidded all the way to the backstop.

Jayson Heyward hit a run-scoring groundout, and Russell followed with his first extra-base hit since Sept. 30 and his first homer since Sept. 19. He jubilantly pumped an arm as he rounded the bases on his two-run drive, which put the Cubs ahead 4-0.

Rizzo homered off Pedro Baez leading off the fifth, snapping his 0-for-11 skid in the series. Rizzo had entered 2 for 26 in the postseason.

Los Angeles closed to 5-2 in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner's likely double-play grounder caromed off Montgomery's outstretched glove and Russell, who scrambled on all fours at shortstop as the ball went into left-center field for a two-run single.

Chicago tacked on five runs in the sixth off relievers Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan. Dexter Fowler singled in the first run, Rizzo added two more on a bases-loaded single and Javier Baez hit a sacrifice fly, with a second run scoring on an error by center fielder Joc Pederson.


Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was tagged out at home to end the second. A sliding Gonzalez stretched his left hand toward the tip of the plate as catcher Contreras applied the tag with his left hand near Gonzalez's upper left arm.

The Dodgers challenged Angel Hernandez's call, which was upheld on video review. That drew online scorn from Washington star Bryce Harper.

"He was safe! Replay system still broke..Same thing all year long! (hashtag)DontMessItUp," Harper tweeted.


Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will attend Thursday's game, his first time back at Dodger Stadium since calling his last home game on Sept. 25. The 88-year-old ended his 67-year career this month with the regular-season finale at San Francisco.


Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. left in the seventh because of left hamstring tightness.


Ashton Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis announced the Dodgers' starting lineup. Also on hand were Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, George Lopez, Larry King and Mary Hart.


Lester allowed one run in six innings of Game 1 in the series, getting a no-decision in Chicago's 8-4 victory. ... Maeda has a 9.00 ERA in two postseason appearances. He allowed three runs and four hits in four innings of the NLCS opener and didn't factor in the decision.