Perfect games are in a class by themselves — only 21 have been pitched in major league history
Philip Humber joined the club as the 21st to throw a perfect game on Saturday at Seattle. The 29-year-old Chicago White Sox right-hander retired the minimum 27 consecutive batters, with no hits, no walks and no errors allowed in a 4-0 win over the Mariners.
Humber, who was claimed off waivers by the White Sox from the Oakland A’s in January 2011, was making his second start of the season. He flirted with a no-hitter in April 2011, taking it into the seventh against the New York Yankees.
But this time he got that and more, finishing it off on a 3-2 slider that ticked off catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s glove on a check swing by pinch-hitter Brendan Ryan. Pierzynski chased after the ball and threw to first to make it official.
It was the first perfect game since Roy Halladay threw one on May 29, 2010 for Philadelphia, and the third by a White Sox pitcher, including Mark Buehrle’s gem on July 23, 2009.
Others, like Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, Don Larsen and Randy Johnson, have also thrown perfect games.
“I don’t know what Philip Humber is doing in this list,” Humber said. “I have no idea what my name is doing there. But I’m thankful it’s there.”
Humber got some help from left-fielder Brent Lillibridge, a defensive replacement, who caught a liner down the leftfield line by Kyle Seager in the eighth inning. He went to a 3-0 count against Michael Saunders to lead off the ninth before striking him out, then got John Jaso to fly out to right.
“I was more nervous than I was in the World Series,” Pierzynski said. “There was no build up to this. It just happened. And you want it so bad for the guy on the mound, and you want him to have that achievement forever. It’s a special thing that Phil did.”
Yankees comeback: Down 9-0 at Fenway Park on Saturday, the New York Yankees brought out their bats and started to hammer away. They scored sevens runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings, and ended up winning 15-9.
Mark Teixeira lashed a pair of home runs, one from each side of the plate, with six RBIs, and Nick Swisher hit a grand slam and drove in six.
It was the 13th time in his career that Teixeira homered from both sides of the plate.
“That was pretty cool,” Teixeira said. “I’ve played a lot of games and that maybe was the most fun regular-season game I’ve ever been a part of.”
It wasn’t fun for Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who was booed upon returning to the dugout after a pitching change. After that game, Boston’s record was 11-30 since Sept. 1.
“I think we’ve hit bottom,” Valentine said. “If this isn’t bottom, we need to find some new ends of the earth.”
“Pudge” retires: Ivan Rodriguez officially announced his retirement at The Ballpark in Arlington on Monday before the Texas Rangers game against the Yankees. Rodriguez, 40, was unable to catch on with a team in spring training.
Rodriguez, who played with the Rangers, Florida, Detroit Houston, Washington and the Yankees, hit .296 in his career with 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs. He played on the World Series champion Marlins in 2003 and in the World Series for the Tigers in 2006.
“Today is a very hard day for me,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been a great, great run, 21 years has been beautiful.”
Rodriguez was a 14-time All-Star and won 13 Gold Gloves. He leads all catchers in games caught (2,427) and threw out 41.7 percent of attempted base stealers, the best since that stat started being kept in 1974.
StatsWatch: Teams with the most runs scored (through Monday) –
- Rangers, 98 runs
- Yankees, 97
- Braves, 93
- Cardinals, 84
- Blue Jays, 82
- Red Sox, 76
- Astros, 76
- Rays, 76
- Dodgers, 75
- Indians, 74
Quotable: “Huge win tonight, time for a sweep of the Royals. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period.” – Indians pitcher Chris Perez on his Twitter account after a game against Kansas City on April 14 in which three players were ejected. He was fined $750 by MLB for his tweet.
Diamond Notes: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A pitcher Angel Guzman has been suspended 50 games for a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program…After Curtis Granderson went 5-for-5 with three homers and 4 RBIs in a 7-6 win over Minnesota last week, the New York Yankees improved their dominance over the Twins to 30-7 since 2002…Cincinnati’s 9-4 win over the Chicago Cubs last Friday at Wrigley Field was the 10,000th victory in franchise history…Alex Rodriguez passed Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth-place on the all-time home run list with his 631st last Friday at Boston. He had 632 going into Tuesday’s game…Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman is on the 15-day DL with a strained left calf…The Los Angeles Angels signed shortstop Erick Aybar to a four-year extension. He had career highs in homers (10), runs (71) and doubles (33) last year.
Copyright © 2012 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.