Highlights of Cain's latest brilliant outing were shown before Thursday afternoon's series finale with Houston, and the pitcher received another warm ovation from his supporters at AT&T Park.
Cain's cap, cleats, dirt from the mound, a ball and his uniform are being sent to Cooperstown. The umpires presented the pitcher with a game ball signed by all four of them. The Giants also replaced the pitching rubber and home plate and will keep those as mementos in San Francisco.
First baseman Brandon Belt made sure Cain got the game ball, quickly putting it in his back pocket after catching third baseman Joaquin Arias' throw for the 27th and final out. Cain's wife, Chelsea, hands clasped in front of her except when she clapped as he recorded each out, said "C'mon, c'mon" as Arias fielded pinch-hitter Jason Castro's bouncer and exhaled when the throw across the diamond was on target.
"I think I watched video of the last out 15 times. It was pretty cool, an awesome feeling," Belt said.
Left fielder Cabrera delivered the first save with his glove when he chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth at the wall that everybody in the ballpark figured was a home run. Then, right fielder Blanco sprinted into deep center for a diving catch on a hard hit drive by Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh.
Blanco came up holding the ball for all to see as fans in the sellout crowd of 42,298 jumped to their feet in celebration.
"I have watched it a lot, and I still don't believe I made that play," Blanco said Thursday.
Not since 1917 have there been five no-hitters in a season by mid-June. The only year that came close was 1990, when Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Stewart each pitched no-hitters on June 29 — the fourth and fifth of the season.
Of the 22 perfect games, half have come in the last 24 years. Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden each threw one two seasons ago, with Braden's coming across the bay with the Oakland Athletics on Mother's Day 2010. Braden was among those to offer congratulations to Cain on Twitter.
The Astros, who had a perfect game thrown against them for the first time, also got no-hit by Marichal on June 15, 1963.
Cain tried to keep it all in perspective the day after.
"The crazy thing is that in four more days I've got to pitch again," he said. "Enjoy it, love that it happened. But I have to start thinking about pitching against the Angels on Monday. I'm trying to stay on a routine."
AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker and Freelance Writers Rick Eymer and Manolo Hernandez Douen contributed.
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