Chicago White Sox righthander Philip Humber retired 27 consecutive batters to pitch the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball in a 4-0 win against the Seattle Mariners.
“I can’t even put it in words,” Humber said in a televised interview at Safeco Field in Seattle. “I’m so happy, so many good things are happening right now.”
There have been eight perfect games in National League history and 13 in the American League. The last White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game was Mark Buerhle in a 5-0 win against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, his second no-hitter. Charlie Robertson was the first, winning 2-0 against the Detroit Tigers on April 30, 1922.
Roy Halladay pitched the last perfect game in the NL, in a 1-0 win for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Florida Marlins on May 29. Dallas Braden achieved the feat in the AL 20 days before Halladay in a 4-0 win for the Oakland Athletics against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Humber, 29, (1-0) started the ninth inning with a 3-0 count against Michael Saunders before striking him out. Pinch-hitters John Jaso flied out to right and Brendan Ryan struck out swinging on a 3-2 count.
“With a four-run lead, you don’t want to walk the lead-off batter,” Humber said. “I felt myself overthrowing.”
Ryan Questions Call
Ryan objected to the final strike call, saying he checked his swing. The ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who retrieved it and threw to first to complete the play.
“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Ryan told reporters. “I will say it was a pretty outstanding game he threw. Had his slider working, obviously in and out of the zone, kept his pitch count down. Pretty outstanding stuff from him today.”
Humber delivered 96 pitches, including 67 strikes as he struck out nine Seattle batters to improve his career record to 12-10.
Paul Konerko hit a home run in the second inning and added a one-run single in the third to give the White Sox (8-6) a 2-0 lead. A.J. Pierzynski drove in Brent Morel on a single in the third and Alejandro De Aza hit a run-scoring single in the ninth.
Blake Beavan (1-2) allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out one in six innings for the Mariners (7-9).
“It was one of them freak days in baseball, you come to the ballpark and you never know what is going to happen,” Seattle leadoff hitter Chone Figgins said.
Humber was drafted third overall by the New York Mets in the 2004 amateur draft. He had so-called Tommy John surgery to repair an elbow ligament after his first Double-A appearance, returning for the second half of the 2006 season. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 2008, joined the Kansas City Royals in 2009 and went to the White Sox last year.