SAN FRANCISCO -- At least when the Astros fall victim to a no-hitter, they do it with a twist.The Astros were on the wrong end of a no-hitter for the fifth time in their 50-year existence, with Giants right-hander Matt Cain pitching the 22nd perfect game in the history of the Major Leagues with a 14-strikeout performance in a 10-0 win on Wednesday night at AT&T Park. The perfect game comes 49 years after Juan Marichal of the Giants no-hit the Astros on June 15, 1963, at Candlestick Park in the Houston franchise's second year of existence. The Astros, who have thrown 10 no-nos in their history, would be no-hit only three more times over the next 35 years. Reds pitcher Jim Maloney no-hit the Astros in Cincinnati on April 30, 1969 -- three months before Houston became the first word spoken from the surface of the moon. The Reds hardly even got to relish in the no-hitter because Astros pitcher Don Wilson returned the favor and no-hit Cincinnati the very next day.
While Astros pitchers Larry Dierker, Ken Forsch, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott and Darryl Kile racked up five of the club's 10 no-hitters from 1976-1993, Houston avoided being no-hit again until Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon of the Pirates combined to turn the trick in Pittsburgh on July 12, 1997.Cordova threw nine innings of no-hit ball and was relieved by Rincon, who pitched a scoreless 10th before Mark Smith hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off John Hudek to give the Pirates the win. Pittsburgh hasn't thrown a no-hitter since. But no no-hitter stuck in the craw of Astros fans like the one Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs threw against Houston on Sept. 14, 2008, at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Astros were making a late playoff push, having won 14 of 15 games, before Hurricane Ike was bearing down the upper Texas coast. With Houston under a hurricane warning and facing evacuations, a pair of games against the Cubs that were scheduled for Minute Maid Park were moved to Milwaukee, a 90-minute drive up I-94 from Chicago. A pro-Cubs crowd watched Zambrano no-hit the Astros one day before Ted Lilly spun a one-hitter. Thud. The Astros' playoff express was derailed as Houston went on to lose five in a row and fall out of contention. Although they were officially listed as the home team in the no-hitter against the Cubs, the Astros can still say they've never been no-hit in their own ballpark.