White Sox's Phil Humber pitches perfect game

Pitcher tosses majors' 21st gem vs. Seattle

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SEATTLE — Philip Hum­ber had Tommy John surgery before his career even started. He bounced around a bit as he tried to make it in the major leagues.

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White Sox starter Philip Humber (center) is mobbed by teammates after pitching a perfect game against the Mariners. He threw 95 pitches, including 67 for strikes.  ELAINE THOMPSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ELAINE THOMPSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
White Sox starter Philip Humber (center) is mobbed by teammates after pitching a perfect game against the Mariners. He threw 95 pitches, including 67 for strikes.

Now, well, Humber is just perfect.

Humber threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

“What just took place was just awesome,” he said.

It was baseball’s 21st perfect game and first since Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay threw one against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010.

Before Saturday, Humber was best known as one of four prospects the Mets traded to Minnesota for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana in February 2008. That’s no longer the case – not after tossing the majors’ first no-hitter of the season and the second April perfect game in history.

“I don’t even know what to say,” he said. “I don’t know what Philip Humber is doing in this list. No idea what my name is doing there, but I’m thankful it’s there.”

He was drafted No. 3 overall by the Mets in 2004, one pick after Justin Verlander went to the Detroit Tigers.

Humber was sidelined by elbow-ligament replacement surgery in 2005 and didn’t win a game in the majors until 2010 with Kansas City.

With the White Sox lined up on the top step of the dugout, Humber fell behind 3-0 to Michael Saunders leading off
the ninth. But he rebounded to strike him out. John Jaso then flied out before Brendan Ryan, another pinch hitter, struck out to end the game.

Ryan took a checked swing and missed at a full-count pitch that was outside and low, but the ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Ryan lingered outside the batter’s box for a minute, unsure of umpire Brian Runge’s call, and Pierzynski fired to first to complete the play.

“I was more nervous than I was in the World Series,” Pierzynski said. “There was no build up for 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 and you want to have him remembered forever. It’s a special thing that Phil did.”

AT A GLANCE

A look at the three pitchers who have thrown a perfect game in White Sox history:

• Philip Humber at Seattle, 4-0, April 21

• Mark Buehrle vs. Tampa Bay, 5-0, July 23, 2009

• Charles Robertson at Detroit, 2-0, April 30, 1922

Perfect Games

Perfect games thrown in major league baseball history:

Phil Humber, Chicago at Seattle, 4-0, April 21, 2012.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia at Florida, 1-0, May 29, 2010.

Dallas Braden, Oakland vs. Tampa Bay, 4-0, May 9, 2010.

Mark Buehrle, Chicago (AL) vs. Tampa Bay, 5-0, July 23, 2009.

Randy Johnson, Arizona at Atlanta (NL), 2-0, May 18, 2004.

David Cone, New York (AL) vs. Montreal, 6-0, July 18, 1999.

David Wells, New York (AL) vs. Minnesota, 4-0, May 17, 1998.

Kenny Rogers, Texas vs. California (AL), 4-0, July 28, 1994.

Dennis Martinez, Montreal at Los Angeles (NL), 2-0, July 28, 1991.

Tom Browning, Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles (NL), 1-0, Sept. 16, 1988.

Mike Witt, California at Texas (AL), 1-0, Sept. 30, 1984.

Len Barker, Cleveland vs. Toronto (AL), 3-0, May 15, 1981.

Catfish Hunter, Oakland vs. Minnesota (AL), 4-0, May 8, 1968.

Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles vs. Chicago (NL), 1-0, Sept. 9, 1965.

Jim Bunning, Philadelphia at New York (NL), 6-0, June 21, 1964.

x-Don Larsen, New York (AL) vs. Brooklyn (NL), 2-0, Oct. 8, 1956.

Charles Robertson, Chicago at Detroit (AL), 2-0, April 30, 1922.

Addie Joss, Cleveland vs. Chicago (AL), 1-0, Oct. 2, 1908.

Cy Young, Boston vs. Philadelphia (AL), 3-0, May 5, 1904.

x-World Series

___

Special Mention

Prior to modern era

John Richmond, Worcester vs. Cleveland (NL), 1-0, June 12, 1880.

John Ward, Providence vs. Buffalo (NL), 5-0, June 17, 1880.<

Unofficial perfect games

y-Ernie Shore, Boston vs. Washington (AL), 4-0, June 23, 1917.

z-Harvey Haddix, Pittsburgh vs. Milwaukee (NL), 0-1, 13 innings, May 26, 1959.

a-Pedro Martinez, Montreal at San Diego, June 3, 1995, 1-0, 10 innings.

___

y-Entered game after starter Babe Ruth walked Ray Morgan, and following an argument, was ejected by umpire Brick Owens. Morgan was caught stealing and Shore retired the remaining 26 batters.

z-Pitched 12 perfect innings, lost in 13th on an error, sacrifice bunt, walk and double.

a-Pitched 9 perfect innings, allowed leadoff double in 10th and was replaced by Mel Rojas, who finished one-hitter in 1-0 win.


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