Matt Cain pitches first perfect game in Giants’ history

Right-hander strikes out 14 in MLB’s 22nd perfecto

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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.

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.”

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.

NOTES: Blanco called it the best catch of his career. “I still don’t know how he caught that ball,” Bochy said. … Of the 22 perfect games, half have come in the last 24 years. Roy Halladay and 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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