Matt Cain powered through the Houston Astros on Wednesday night, striking out a career-high 14 and tossing the first perfect game in San Francisco Giants history.
Cain's dominant outing in a 10-0 win over the Astros was the second perfect game in the major leagues this season and the 22nd of all time.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Philip Humber tossed this year's first perfecto on April 21 against the Seattle Mariners.
"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."
Is this a remake of 2010 when six no-hitters were thrown?
Almost, and we're not even halfway through June. Cain's perfecto was the fifth no-hitter this season, joining Humber, the Mets' Johan Santana, the Angels' Jered Weaver and a combined six-pitcher effort by the Seattle Mariners.
When Cain wasn't dominating, he got several key defensive plays from his teammates, including a challenging catch and throw of a Jason Castro grounder by third baseman Joaquin Arias for the 27th and final out.
"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."
"I had to try to find a way to calm down," said Cain, who threw 125 pitches. "Somehow, it worked.
"I don't think there's an empty seat right now."
This was yet another significant milestone in a career that was promising from the outset, but took time to coalesce into greatness. Cain, 27, was snakebit by poor run support early in his career, and his career record improved to just 77-75 despite a 3.30 lifetime ERA.
In 2010, things turned in a significant fashion. Cain threw 21 scoreless innings in the postseason, powering the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco.
BOX SCORE: Giants 10, Astros 0
Before this season, the Giants rolled the dice on Cain as their rotation anchor for the future, signing him to a six-year, $127.5 million contract extension.
He has rewarded them with dominance, including a one-hit performance in April and a major league-leading 0.94 walks and hits allowed per inning. All that made an evening like Wednesday's relatively easy to project.
When it happened, pandemonium ensued at AT&T Park.
"Just an incredible night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were all pulling so hard."
Immediately after the final out, a policeman escorted Cain's wife, Chelsea, from the stands to the field. They have a daughter, Hartley, born in December 2010.
"This is unspeakable right now," Cain said. "This is unbelievable. This is part of history and something I'll remember forever and ever."
The play Cain will remember forever came in the top of the seventh, when Jordan Schaefer drove a ball into the gap in right center field. But Gregor Blanco made a diving catch on the warning track to keep Cain's historic bid alive.
"I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing," Cain said.
The Giants nearly had their first perfect game on July 10, 2009, when Jonathan Sanchez no-hit the San Diego Padres. Only an error kept Sanchez from the feat then.