DETROIT -- Matt Cain termed his 1,000th career strikeout a milestone that's certainly flattering but also incidental.
"It's cool, but it's nothing I really thought about," said Cain, who reached the mark Thursday at Chicago by retiring Koyie Hill on a called third strike. "You don't really think about that as a goal early in your career. It just kind of happens, I guess."
Right-hander Tim Lincecum, who passed 1,000 strikeouts earlier in June, spoke proudly of his teammate.
"He's got power stuff, a 93-mph fastball that I'm sure looks like 97 out there," Lincecum said. "His control has improved the last few years. He's becoming a smarter pitcher."
Cain realized long ago that while strikeouts are impressive, they're not always conducive to winning. The romance of the strikeout was never stronger, he said, than in high school.
"Through the Minor Leagues I still was thinking of striking guys out," Cain said. "But you start to see, am I winning games? Is the team winning? And I'm out of the game after five innings. So you try to stay in the game longer, and to do that, you try to get guys out quicker."
Cain joined Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Jason Schmidt and Lincecum as the only Giants to total 1,000 strikeouts since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958.