Felix Hernandez knew he had something going in the 3rd or 4th inning

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

Gregor Blanco’s great catch preserved Matt Cain’s perfect game (Video)

Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history on Wednesday night, and an impressive catch by Gregor Blanco helped make it possible.

Jordan Schafer led off the 7th inning with a drive deep to the right of center. It was a ball that the center fielder typically would have caught, but Angel Pagan was playing Schafer to hit to the opposite field, and luckily Blanco was there to make a diving catch at the warning track.

Cain was impressed by the catch, and said after the game “When Blanco makes that catch in center field, I literally felt everybody on the mound with me. The whole stadium was electric there. It was unbelievable.”

Cain tied a perfect game record by striking out 14 batters, and his perfecto was the first in Giants history. Perhaps the next most surprising event of the night is that Cain actually got excellent run support for a change. The Giants belted three two-run home runs and won 10-0.

The perfect game improved Cain’s record to 8-2 and lowered the underrated pitcher’s ERA to 2.18.

Blanco deserves plenty of praise for his catch, but when it comes to preserving perfect games, this incredible grab is still the best.

Philip Humber now gets to hang out with Kate Upton

Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history on Saturday as his White Sox defeated the Mariners 4-0. Humber struck out nine, got five groundouts, and 13 flyouts as he retired all 27 batters he faced. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis reminds us of the reward Humber will receive for his historical feat:

That was a reference to the MLB 2K12 commercial featuring Kate Upton, dean of the Perfect Club:

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Umpire Jim Joyce’s Blown Call Improves Case for Instant Replay in MLB

Two years ago, I made the argument that baseball should join the 21st century and add instant replay after seeing a blown call during the Padres/Rockies playoff game. It took some time, but MLB finally decided to allow umpires the ability to review home runs. Unfortunately, Bud Selig refused to further integrate instant replay into the game. That poor decision altered history on Wednesday night when umpires were unable to review the blown call by Jim Joyce that ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game.

As we previously detailed, Joyce made a terrible call and cost Galarraga the perfect game. I understand the “human element” of the game and I think baseball should continue to have it. However, I like that umpires have the ability to review home runs and I would like them to have the ability to review more plays. To me, the best solution would be to give managers the option to throw a challenge flag much like NFL coaches. I would say give them two challenges per game (no need to completely slow down an already slow game) so that we can correct wrong calls.

NFL and NBA officials review plays using instant replay, NHL officials review goals, and tennis allows players to challenge calls. Why shouldn’t managers have the ability to do the same so that calls can be corrected?

Here’s a video of the blown call to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game:

Perfect Game Broken Up By Horrendous Call With Two Out in the 9th

Major League Baseball just came one out away from having its third perfect game this yearDetroit Tigers hurler Armando Galarraga had a perfect game going against the Cleveland Indians through 8 2/3 innings when Cleveland shortstop Jason Donald chopped a grounder toward first base.  The perfect game seemed like a certainty as Miguel Cabrera fielded the grounder and threw to a covering Galarraga for the out.  First base umpire Jim Joyce didn’t see it that way and called Donald safe on the play.  Just look at the picture above.

This is one of the worst calls — if not the absolute worst — I have ever seen in a baseball game.  Not only was the runner out by a full step, but in a situation like this even if it were a tie the call should go to the pitcher.  He’s one out away from a perfect game.  I can’t even imagine how mad Galarraga is right now.  What an absolute atrocity.  My guess is Jim Joyce won’t get much sleep tonight once he sees the replay of his call.

Here’s video of Jim Joyce’s blown call on Armando Galarraga’s perfect game

UPDATE (10:27 EST): People make mistakes.  Jim Joyce happened to make a huge one.  But I do want to mention that I admire the way he owned up to it after the game.  Joyce found Galarraga as quickly as he could once he saw the call he made and apologized to him, telling him he cost him a perfect game.  Galarraga was beyond classy in a post-game interview, saying he doesn’t blame Joyce and it was an honest mistake.  None of this crap changes the fact that Galarraga’s name should be in the record books and won’t be, but I respect Jim Joyce for not hiding from his screw-up.

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Roy Halladay Throws Perfect Game

It’s been an unbelievable year for pitching accomplishments in MLB this season. Things got started with Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter for the Rockies against the Braves. That was only the start of things to come as A’s pitcher Dallas Braden then tossed the 19th perfect game in modern MLB history against the Rays on Mother’s Day. Then on Saturday night, Roy Halladay threw a perfect game in a 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins, the second perfecto in Phillies history and the 20th in MLB history.

Halladay of course retired all 27 batters he faced, doing it by throwing 115 pitches, 75 of which were strikes. Doc struck out 11 batters, got eight groundouts, and six flyouts in the win. Halladay’s perfect game obviously stands out on its own, but it’s just another example of Roy’s all-around brilliance. Halladay has made 11 starts this season and this was his third complete game shutout. While the chances of Halladay winning 25 games is slim since he’s 7-3 on the year with about 23 starts left to make on the season, there’s no doubting his brilliance. Roy’s breaking ball was sharp, his sinker was dropping like a mofo, and everything he threw was moving. You know what? Things really weren’t all that much different for Halladay on the hill this time around from every other time he makes a start.

Halladay is one of the best pitchers in baseball and he’s been that for a long time now. I’m glad he now has a perfect game on his resume to go along with his numerous other accomplishments and I’m glad he got the closure he hasn’t had since his rookie season. MLB Network explained that Halladay came within an out of tossing a perfect game against the Tigers in his rookie year but Bobby Higginson burned him with a home run. This time around, Halladay got Ronny Paulino to ground out to third to finish off the job. Roy Halladay now has a Cy Young Award, six All-Star selections, two 20-win seasons, and a perfect game on his resume. There’s no debating his greatness.