Game score says Matt Cain's performance one of all-time best

Matt Cain

It doesn't get much better than a perfect game, does it? Well, when you're talking about degrees of greatness, it just may.

Game score is a stat created by Bill James to determine just how good of an outing a pitcher has had. The maximum score in a nine-inning game is 114 -- the all-time best for a nine-inning game is 105, set by Kerry Wood in his 20-strikeout, one-hitter over the Astros in 1998. Matt Cain's perfect game on Tuesday scored a 101, the second-best nine-inning mark ever, tied with Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965 and Nolan Ryan's 16-strikeout no-hitter in 1991.

Matt Cain's perfect game
The formula for game score is pretty simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk.

Because the formula is based on just counting statistics, it favors pitchers who throw more innings in a game. The highest-ever score of 153 was turned in by Joe Oeschger of the Boston Braves, when he pitched all 26 innings of a 1-1 tie against the Brooklyn Dodgers. His opponent, Leon Cadore, has the second-best mark, 140, after pitching all 26 innings as well.

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