San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain, who threw the 22nd perfect game in Major League history on June 13th, has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending June 17th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
In his only start last week, Cain tossed the ninth perfect game by an N.L. pitcher and the first in the 130-year history of the Giants franchise. It was the second of the 2012 season, joining Chicago White Sox starter Philip Humber's perfect game on April 21st at Seattle, marking just the third time in Major League history that two perfect games have been recorded in the same season (1880 – Monte Ward, Lee Richmond; and 2010 – Roy Halladay, Dallas Braden). Cain fanned 14 batters and threw 125 (86 strikes) pitches in the outing, a 10-0 victory over the visiting Houston Astros. The 14 strikeouts were a career high for the twotime All-Star and tied the record for most strikeouts in a perfect game, set by Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (September 9, 1965). It was the highest strikeout total in a no-hitter since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan fanned 16 Blue Jays on May 1, 1991. Cain's pitch count was the highest ever recorded in a perfect game, eclipsing David Wells' 120 (May 17, 1998), while the 10 runs and 15 hits of offense by the Giants were the most ever in a perfect game. Cain, who singled and came around to score on a Gregor Blanco homer in the fifth inning, became the first pitcher to score a run in a perfect game. The performance marked the fifth no-hitter of the 2012 season as Cain joined Humber, Jered Weaver (May 2nd), Johan Santana (June 1st) and the combined Mariners no-hitter (June 8th). It was also the third no-hitter during June, the most in a single month since June 1990, when four no-hitters were thrown. In addition, it marked the first time since May 2-6, 1917 that there have been three no-hitters in a span of less than two weeks (Fred Tooney, Ernie Koob and Bob Groom). With the victory, Cain has now won a career-high seven straight decisions, improving to 8-2 on the season with a 2.18 ERA. This is his first career weekly award.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez (.261, 4 HR, 10 RBI, .826 SLG); Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.333, 3 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI) and R.A. Dickey (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, 12 SO, 1-hitter) of the New York Mets; Philadelphia's Jim Thome (.261, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R); Cincinnati's Joey Votto (.476, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Johnny Cueto (2-0, 1.13 ERA, 16.0 IP, 15 SO); and San Diego's Clayton Richard (2-0, 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 9 SO).
In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Matt Cain will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.