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

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

Giants spring training Day 40: Belt continues domination of Rockies' home park

BELT RIVER FIELDS, Ariz. — Earlier this spring, Brandon Belt moved his schedule around so he could get additional at-bats. That led to some random trips across the desert, but there was never any doubt Belt would be in Friday’s road lineup.

Belt demolishes the ball at Salt River Fields, spring home of the Rockies and Diamondbacks. After coming out of Friday’s win, he shook his head in mock disgust when talking about the day’s stats.

“One for four, you’ve gotta be kidding me,” Belt said. “That’s terrible.”

That one happened to be a homer, a three-run shot off Jon Gray, the likely opening day starter for the Rockies. Belt thought he crushed the ball but it ended up pretty high, so it simply dropped onto the berm in right. 

“It squeaked out,” Belt said. “Good mojo, I guess.”

The mojo kept his remarkable run going at Salt River. His updated career stats here: 22 for 35, with eight homers, four doubles, one triple and 18 RBI. Belt said he’s not quite sure why he turns into the flames emoji every time he steps onto this field. 

“I don’t know what it is, but I like hitting here,” he said. “Maybe it’s the batter’s eye?”

Salt River has a dark green batter’s eye with no distractions on either side, and the Giants certainly saw the ball well Friday. They had seven straight hits in the third before Gray was pulled with a sore foot. Belt hit second, and manager Bruce Bochy said that wasn’t simply because Joe Panik had the day off. Bochy will look at several different lineup permutations over the next week, and a Span/Belt/Pence/Posey/Crawford one-through-five is one option. 

“I like (that spot) a lot,” Belt said. “I feel good getting started and knowing I’ll get to bat in the first inning. It’s a good spot. I don’t think my approach changes that much: Get a pitch to hit and try to hit it hard.”

GAME RECAP: Jeff Samardzija was sharp in four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three. He threw about 45 pitches on the field and then went down to the bullpen for 45 more. Samardzija certainly benefited from having Buster Posey back in the lineup. He said Posey noticed during warmups that Samardzija’s delivery was a little flat and his arm was dragging too low. 

“That doesn’t happen often,” Samardzija said of having a guy like Posey back there. “You have a lot of catchers who are afraid to say something.”

The rest of this one was a laugher until the ninth, when the Rockies rallied and brought the winning run to the plate. It hasn’t been a great spring for the bullpen.

STOCK WATCH: Chris Marrero hit a deep homer, his seventh of the spring. He also made a nice pick at first, where he looks much more comfortable. At this point, it appears it’s either Marrero or Kelby Tomlinson for that final bench spot.

TRAINER’S ROOM: The news on Will Smith was as expected. He will have Tommy John surgery next week. 

There is good news for Trevor Brown: The catcher, who has a sore ankle, took some swings and he’s feeling much better. Brown did not, as first reported, get hurt hiking on an off day. It happened during a game. Brown won’t be ready in time to return to Cactus League action, so he’ll likely stay here during the Bay Bridge Series and then travel home with Triple-A Sacramento. 

ICYMI: Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Mark Melancon are back in camp. Here’s a story on Posey’s WBC experience, with the catcher saying he’d like to play again in four years. Here’s Crawford on his month, which ended with him giving an NL West rival a slump-busting bat. 

ROSTER UPDATE: The Giants released David Hernandez, at his request. They have started to tell others that they’re not making the opening day roster, so there should be a series of minor transactions this weekend. (You know where to go.)

QUOTABLE: "I swung at a heater and a slider went right into my bat. I was happy to be able to track (pitches), and happy that the next time the bunt didn't go off my beautiful face." -- Samardzija, when asked about his double off the wall. 

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Plenty of high-profile MLB players wearing new uniforms in 2017

Chris Sale traded socks (AP) -- or Sox - from white to red. Edwin Encarnacion took his big bat to Cleveland. Aroldis Chapman returned to the Bronx.

Plenty of All-Stars, Cy Young winners and MVPs are wearing new uniforms this season.

The biggest move occurred when the Boston Red Sox acquired Sale from the Chicago White Sox. The five-time All-Star left-hander left a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2008 for one that's won three World Series titles since 2004.

Encarnacion left Toronto for the team that beat the Blue Jays in last year's ALCS. He averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs over the past five seasons in Toronto and gives the Indians a major boost.

Chapman is back in New York after spending the first half of last season with the Yankees before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series.

Here's a 25-man roster of familiar faces in different places this season:


1. CF: Dexter Fowler. Jumped from World Series champion Cubs to rival St. Louis. Gives the Cardinals stability atop the batting order.

2. RF: Adam Eaton. Traded from White Sox to defending NL East champion Nationals. He'll play center field in Washington between Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.

3. DH: Kendrys Morales. Joined Blue Jays to help fill Encarnacion's void after spending past two seasons with the Royals.

4. 1B: Encarnacion.

5. C: Brian McCann. Traded from Yankees to Astros, giving Houston's stacked lineup another slugger.

6. SS: Ian Desmond. Returns to NL to join Rockies after one season playing outfield in Texas. He'll play first base for Colorado, but he's back at shortstop on this squad.

7. LF: Matt Holliday. Signed with Yankees following 7 1/2 seasons in St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star will likely DH in New York though he'll see some action in left field.

8. 2B: Brandon Phillips. Waived no-trade clause to go to rebuilding Braves after 11 seasons with Reds.

9. 3B: Howie Kendrick. Comes east after spending his entire career in Los Angeles - nine seasons with Angels and last two with Dodgers. Kendrick is playing left field for Philadelphia but he starts at third to fill this lineup.


1B: Chris Carter. Landed with Yankees after swatting 41 homers for Milwaukee last season to tie for NL lead.

INF: Jimmy Rollins. Former NL MVP is trying to land a roster spot with San Francisco as a utility man after playing all but one-third inning of his 17-year career at shortstop. Has bounced from Dodgers to White Sox to Giants after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

OF: Michael Saunders. All-Star for Blue Jays last season and will start in right field for Phillies.

OF: Carlos Beltran. Returns to Houston after spending half the 2004 season with the Astros and hitting eight postseason homers for them.

C: Matt Wieters. Left Baltimore for Washington to replace All-Star Wilson Ramos, who joined Tampa Bay and is still recovering from knee surgery.



Edinson Volquez. Goes from Royals to Marlins.

Jaime Garcia. Lefty joins Braves after eight seasons in St. Louis.

Jered Weaver. Stays in California, switching to Padres after 11 seasons with Angels.

R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballer returns to NL East after four seasons in Toronto. One of two 40-plus former Cy Young award winners signed by Braves.


Bartolo Colon. Other veteran Braves signed to bolster rotation. He'll be long man on this staff.



Mark Melancon. Signed with Giants after finishing last season in Washington.

Sergio Romo. Went from San Francisco to rival Dodgers.

Wade Davis. Traded from Royals to Cubs to replace Chapman.

Santiago Casilla. Stays in Bay Area, going from Giants to A's.