Felix Hernandez threw the third perfect game in baseball this year and 23rd in MLB history when he led the Mariners to a 1-0 win over the Rays in Seattle on Wednesday. Hernandez threw 113 pitches and struck out 12 of the batters he faced.
The stud pitcher said after the game that he recognized something special was brewing very early.
“In the third or fourth I realized I had something going on,” said Hernandez. “I was throwing my breaking ball for a strike, I was throwing every pitch in every count. And we played unbelievable defense.”
Hernandez’s stuff was noticeably great on Wednesday. He said he only shook off catcher John Jaso a few times. Jaso raved about the former Cy Young winner’s stuff.
“He struck (Evan) Longoria out on a curveball,” said Jaso. “It was one of the nastiest curveballs that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Hernadez is the first Mariners pitcher to throw a perfect game, and the third to throw a no-hitter (the franchise had six pitchers combine on a fourth no-hitter). The Mariners also became the first team to have three no-hitters thrown in their park in the same year, and they are the first team to throw a perfect game and have one thrown against them in the same season.
Another bizarre stat is that the Rays had a perfect game thrown against them for the third time in four seasons. Mark Buehrle did it in 2009, Dallas Braden in 2010, and King Felix did it this season. They were also no-hit by Edwin Jackson in 2010.
The perfect game was something you could almost see coming for Hernandez. Two starts before, Hernandez threw a complete game two-hit shutout against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. He had a complete game three-hit shutout against the Rangers last month with 12 strikeouts, and he struck out 13 Red Sox in another complete game shutout in June.
The 26-year-old Venezuelan was already recognized as one of the best pitchers in baseball, and now he has a perfect game to further cement his legacy.
Photo: Joe Nicholson – US Presswire