Flawless: Matt Cain throws a perfect game versus Astros

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Matt Cain turned in one of the most dominant performances in recent memory Wednesday night, going 27 up and 27 down against the Astros for the 22nd perfect game in MLB history.

Cain was overpowering with 14 strikeouts, which ties Sandy Koufax for the most ever in a perfect game. And the Giants right-hander also got a little help from his defense as left fielder Melky Cabrera made a leaping catch at the wall in the sixth inning and right fielder Gregor Blanco preserved the perfection with a fantastic diving catch at the warning track in the seventh inning.

Cain made quick work of the Astros in the ninth inning, entering the final frame with 114 pitches and then needing just 11 more to get a foul out, a fly out, and a game-ending ground out to third base. Oh, and the Giants won 10-0.

Philip Humber threw the last perfect game on April 21 of this season, striking out nine and setting the Mariners down in order on just 94 pitches. This is just the second time in modern baseball history that there have been two perfect games in the same season, with the other being 2010 when Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay both accomplished the feat.

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.