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Did Cain pitch greatest game in baseball history?

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Did Cain pitch greatest game in baseball history?

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For all those Giants masterpieces, from Christy Mathewson to Juan Marichal to Gaylord Perry, this one by Matt Cain topped them all. Cain pitched the franchise's first perfect game and the 22nd in major league history, striking out a career-high 14 and getting help from two spectacular catches to beat the Houston Astros 10-0 on Wednesday night. Cain's 125-pitch gem for San Francisco featured a pair of great plays by his corner outfielders. He got pinch-hitter Jason Castro on a grounder to third for his 27th and final out with the sellout crowd of 42,298 roaring. "This is incredible right now," Cain said. "It was unbelievable. The guys did a great job making it, in a way, kind of relaxing, because they were able to get on the board early." It was the fifth no-hitter in the majors already this season and second perfect game. Another Year of the Pitcher? You bet. In the very ballpark where Barry Bonds made home run history five summers ago, Cain produced the signature moment for pitchers. It was the 14th no-hitter in club history -- Mathewson pitched Nos. 2 and 3 in 1901 and '05, and fellow Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell, Marichal and Perry had one apiece. Left fielder Melky Cabrera chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth, scurrying back to make a leaping catch at the wall. Cain raised both arms and slapped his glove in delight when Cabrera made the play. Then, right fielder Gregor Blanco ran into deep right-center to make a diving catch on the warning track and rob Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh. The 27-year-old pitcher hugged Blanco in the dugout after the inning. "Those were unbelievable catches," Cain said. "I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing." Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox tossed the majors' last perfecto at Seattle on April 21. This is the second time in three years there have been two perfect games in the same season -- before that, the only other time it happened was in 1880. Cain (8-2) accomplished a feat last done in the Bay Area by A's lefty Dallas Braden on Mother's Day 2010. Braden tweeted Wednesday night: "What a beautiful game. Congrats 2 Matt Cain & a historic franchise & city. A special memory ill tell someones kids about! (hash)eraofthepitcher." 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. This year, Johan Santana tossed the New York Mets' first no-hitter on June 1 and six Seattle pitchers shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers last Friday. Jered Weaver had one for the Los Angeles Angels on May 2. The Astros were no-hit for the fifth time and first since Carlos Zambrano did so for the Cubs on Sept. 14, 2008. "Just an incredible night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We were all pulling so hard." The Giants made a big commitment to Cain this spring, locking him up for a long haul -- and he showed exactly why general manager Brian Sabean has vowed to keep his talented pitchers. In a week when the city's attention turned to golf and the U.S. Open, Cain delivered his most impressive gem yet in his 216th career start. The 125 pitches were the most ever thrown in a perfect game. The two-time All-Star who had long been the Giants starter who endured a lack of run support already was rewarded with a new 127.5 million, six-year contract in early April before the season started. This certainly meant as much or more to the homegrown pitcher. Cain threw 86 pitches for strikes, faced just four full counts and still clocked 90 mph in the ninth. Cain followed up Madison Bumgarner's 12-strikeout gem in Tuesday night's 6-3 win. "I know when I haven't given up a hit, I'm always conscious of it," Cain said. "Probably the first time through the lineup I felt like I had good stuff. The first time through the lineup I felt like something could happen." Something special, all right. It was the first no-hitter by San Francisco since departed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez did it July 10, 2009, against the Padres at AT&T Park. 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. "When the ball I hit doesn't go out and the ball that Schafer hits is caught ... I've never seen a ball hit like that into that gap," Snyder said. 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." Cain's wife, 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. Cain, who hit one drive into McCovey Cove alongside U.S. Open golfer Dustin Johnson before the game to show off one of his other favorite pastimes, sat by himself in the dugout between innings. J.A. Happ (4-7) lost his fourth straight start after giving up eight runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings. NOTES: Blanco called it the best catch of his career. "I still don't know how he caught that ball," Bochy said. ... Cabrera's first-inning homer marked his first clout at home this year. ... Astros bench coach Joe Pettini will join Tony La Russa's NL All-Star coaching staff. ... Of the 22 perfect games, half have come in the last 24 years. Roy Halladay and Dallas 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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Food guide for the neighborhood around Capital One Arena

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The Partisan

Food guide for the neighborhood around Capital One Arena

Here is a guide to the area around Capital One Arena for restaurants and bars before and after Wizards games (or Caps games, Mystics games, Valor games or concerts). These recommendations were made on a special episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast. The full episode can be found below.

The quotes in this guide are from Jose Andrés, a world-renowned chef with restaurants in the area, Washington City Paper food editor Laura Hayes and yours truly, a sports reporter who spends a lot of his time at Capital One Arena... and bars.

Drink before the game

City Tap House of D.C. - 901 9th St. NW

Hayes: "Really relaxed. They have a bunch of flat screens in case there is a good game on... they have a good happy hour before weekday games... really comfortable environment with reasonable prices and it's walkable to the arena."

Daikaya - 705 6th St. NW

Andrés: "Katsuya Fukushima, who used to be a team member of mine, we worked many years together. Finally, when he moved away from D.C. and he came back, he opened Daikaya, which has some of the best ramen anywhere in the country. Then he opened Izakaya and Bantam King."

Nice place to get a drink and impress someone

Denson Liquor Bar - 600 F St. NW

Hayes: "Hard to find... so it's never crowded down there. It's really dark and kind of sultry with a beautiful design to it. The cocktails are usually dominated by the brown liquor classic cocktails... they have higher-end snacks."

Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW

Andrés: "They do amazing hot dogs to amazing burgers to amazing cocktails to amazing beer."

Hayes: "It's a really good time. Lots of good sour bears. It's a great hang."

Nice dinner for a date

Succotash - 915 F St. NW

Hayes: "A mix of southern cuisine... and then some touches from [the chef's] Korean heritage... it's southern food, but not like you know it. There's some cool twists."

Zaytinya - 701 9th St. NW

Andrés: "Zaytinya is an homage to Greece, to Turkey and to Lebanon... Mr. Ted Leonsis, I know, loves the place because he has a Greek background himself... it has become a favorite of Washingtonians."

China Chilcano - 418 7th St. NW

Andrés: "This one is my love for everything Asian and everything Latin... This is one of the most amazing melting pots. You can find Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvian cooking all in one country. Right here, I wanted to bring that story to everybody in Washington."

Best place to go out after a game and get hammered

Jackpot - 726 7th St. NW

Hayes: "It's good before and after games. No frills. You're not going to be packed in there like sardines. They have a really good beer selection... it's laid back, with cheap beer and you can still hear each other."

Irish Channel - 500 H St. NW

Hughes: "A favorite of sportswriters. Live music, open late with a late night menu (important)."

Best-kept secrets

Free State - 501b G St. NW

Hayes: "They have $10-12 cocktails. It's very relaxed. They have the orange crush, the signature cocktail of the Eastern Shore. They have a huge slate of local beers."

On Rye - 740 6th St. NW

Hayes: "It's a new Jewish deli that opened on sixth street. It's extremely close."

Chinese food in Chinatown

Full Kee - 509 H St. NW

Hayes: "It's reliable. I spend most of my time interviewing chefs and whenever I ask what their dirty little secret is, they say Full Kee."

Fast casual

Cava - 707 H St. NW

Hayes: "I still can't get enough of it... you can usually get in and out there very fast. I personally love the lamb sliders."

Honeygrow - 716 7th St. NW

Hayes: "It's more healthy. You can build your own salad or stir fry noodles."

Best burger

Grand Trunk - 641 Indiana Ave. NW

Hayes: "They stick two patties that are spiced with ginger, cumin, green chiles, onion and cilantro and they put them inside some grilled naan. Then, it's smeared with some kind of an amazing sauce and it comes with dippers like a creamy yogurt sauce and tamarind. It's just a messy, messy good time."

The Smith - 901 F St. NW

Hayes: "They have a nice, big, fat burger deluxe for $17 that is just loaded with everything you can imagine."

Red Apron/The Partisan - 709 D. St. NW

Hughes: "Burgers are awesome. Beers are awesome. Awesome."

Best pizza

Graffiato - 707 6th St. NW

Hayes: "It's a Mike Isabella restaurant and he spent a lot of time growing up on the Jersey Shore. So, he has a Jersey Shore pizza that has fried calamari on top with tomato, provolone and then this really zesty cherry pepper aioli. It's not your normal margherita or pepperoni, but they have some really good pizza that they're cranking out there."

Best family spot

Nando's Peri-Peri - 819 7th St. NW

Hayes: "They have five different options for kid's meals. They have grilled chicken strips, grilled cheese; they all come with a side... everything a kid would like." 

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Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 17, six days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 12
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

Last look at Redskins vs. 49ers

—It’s gotten to a point where a Kirk Cousins game where he completes 67 percent of his passes for 330 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, and two touchdowns as he did against the 49ers and it’s just another day, not worthy of any special note. But since 1990, a Redskins quarterback has had a line of at least 67 percent completions for 330 yards or more, 8.9 yards or more per attempt, and two or more touchdown passes just four times. Cousins did it earlier this year against the Raiders and he did it against the Packers last year. Brad Johnson also did it in 1999 against the 49ers. Add in the fact that Cousins led a fourth-quarter rally with two drives that produced 10 fourth-quarter points and that he scored the touchdown himself on a seven-yard read option run and you have a very good game that flew under the radar.

—The 49ers came into the game ranked 31st in third-down conversions on offense and on defense. The Redskins ensured that they will stay near the bottom. Washington hit on 50 percent of its third downs, converting seven of 14. Opponents had success on 47.4 percent coming into the game. Defensively the Redskins allowed six of 17, a 35.3 percent success rate, a little better than the 29.7 percent the Niners offense had going in. The 49ers converted just one of their first eight but after C.J. Beathard came in at quarterback they got rolling, converting five of their last nine.

I thought that Mack Brown might be more of a chance to run the ball with Rob Kelley out but that was before we knew that Chris Thompson was going to be the featured back. In fact, Thompson said that he didn’t know that his workload would go up until the night before the game. Back to Brown, he got two yards on two carries. He came in for a handoff on third and one in the second quarter. Perhaps he would have had a chance to do something but he got no blocking on the right side, particularly from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed. His chance will have to wait for another day.

—Reed had a quiet day receiving with four catches for 37 yards. He confessed to not being 100 percent last week and his average of 7.9 yards per catch on the season speaks to something not being quite right. He did make a couple of key catches, though. After Thompson got tackled for a loss of nine yards on first down, Reed kept the drive alive with receptions good for 10 and 14 yards. That drive ended with Samaje Perine scoring on a three-yard pass reception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 14-0. Still, it would be good to see Reed have a breakout game with something like seven receptions for 95 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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