Cain earns Mane Man of the Month honors
Giants ace recognized following stellar month that included perfecto
Matt Cain's dominant run last month -- highlighted by him completing the 22nd perfect game in Major League history -- has earned the Giants right-hander the Head and Shoulders Mane Man of the Month Award for June.
Cain was strong throughout the month, going 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA, but it was his June 13 perfecto against the Astros that likely gave the right-hander the award, as voted on by the fans. He struck out 14 batters in the Giants' first perfect game in franchise history, tying Sandy Koufax's 1965 record for the most strikeouts recorded in a perfect game.
"You get put in any sentence with Sandy Koufax, it's tremendous," Cain said after the perfect performance. "It felt like the World Series, but it almost felt a little bit louder, a little crazier. Every strike [the fans] were going nuts for. It was really amazing. I've never had that much excitement, every pitch, every strike, every swing."
Cain edged out Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout and Reds slugger Joey Votto in the fan vote to capture the award. It marks the second straight month a National League hurler has garnered the Mane Man of the Month Award after the Phillies' Cole Hamels earned May honors.
The perfect game came in the midst of a streak in which Cain won eight consecutive starts, dating back to May 12. The streak finally came to an end on June 24, despite Cain allowing just one run over seven innings of work and leaving the game with a 2-1 lead.
"Cain did a great job of staying consistent," Giants catcher Buster Posey said after the Giants bullpen let that game slip away. "He's just been doing what he's done all year."
Something about the month of June seems to appeal to Cain, as this performance came one year after Cain turned in possibly the best month of his career. The 27-year-old, who will be making his third All-Star appearance on Tuesday, went 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA in six June starts in 2011.
Though the month ended with a loss this year -- his only defeat since May 1 -- Cain still lowered his ERA from 2.79 to 2.53 in June and has already matched his career high with two shutouts this season. Cain's 48 strikeouts last month were also a career best for any one month.
The Mane Man of the Month honors only add to an action-packed first-half for Cain, who along with the perfect game and All-Star nod, inked a five-year, $112 million extension in the week leading up to the Giants' regular-season opener. Cain hasn't showed any signs of slowing down despite the contract security, finishing the season's first half at 9-3 with a 2.62 ERA, 118 strikeouts and just 24 walks in 120 1/3 innings.
"He's as even-keeled a player as I've ever seen -- and I've seen a lot of players," Giants reliever Shane Loux said. "I watch film of him to study how he handles situations. The guy throws a perfect game, and the next day he's the exact same person -- not that you'd expect anything else from him."