Mar 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitcher Phil Humber

MLB Game Recaps: Phil Humber Perfect Game

Phil Humber Perfect Game Chicago White Sox 4, Seattle Mariners 0

Former New York Yankees prospect Philip Humber reinvented himself in his first season with the Chicago White Sox in 2011. After an underwhelming career in which he was known as a replacement-level player, Humber broke seemingly out of nowhere with a 3.5 WAR season in 2011. He showed impeccable control and induced a healthy amount of groundballs en route to a solid 3.58 FIP.

Last season, Phil Humber threw some gems, but I don’t think even he envisioned how this game against the Seattle Mariners turned out.

Humber struck out nine hitters in a perfect game for a GSC of 96 and a 4-0 win for the 8-6 White Sox. Sure it was the Mariners, but notching a perfect game against any sort of MLB competition is no short feat.

It only took him 96 pitches to completely shut down the M’s, with 69.8% of his pitches going for strikes. Humber induced a whiff 14.6% of the time, and the low groundball rate didn’t matter in this gem.

Phil Humber’s rise to a solid starter last season was a feel-good story in itself, and this perfect game raises that to another level. This was a guy who had Tommy John surgery before his career started, and the threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history. If you asked anyone to rank the pitchers in order of how likely it is for them to throw a perfect game this year, Humber wouldn’t even be in the top 50 on almost every list. But he did, the guy who was one of the four prospects in the Mets-Twins Johan Santana trade threw a perfect game.

The perfect game ended on an uncertain note, as Brendan Ryan tried to check his swing on a full count pitch that was out of the zone. A.J. Pierzynski had trouble handling it, but it was a strike. The veteran catcher then threw it to first to get Ryan out and end the ballgame.

“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.”

By the way, his wife is pregnant and his child is due on the 8th of May. This is an incredible story and one of the many reasons why baseball is a wonderful game full of moments like these to cherish.

Cubs 6, Reds 1

Paul Maholm allowed just one run, four hits, and three walks with five strikeouts in six innings to help the Chicago Cubs take down the Cincinnati Reds. Reds starter Mike Leake struggled through 5.2 innings and allowed ten hits and five runs. Rookie Zack Cozart went 2-5 with a run and two doubles, while Darwin Barney and catcher Steve Clevenger had three hits for Chicago.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2

Anibal Sanchez (7 IP, 8 K, 5 H, 2 ER) and Stephen Strasburg (6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K) ended up in a fantastic pitching duel, but the game was won and lost when Marlins reliever Edward Mujica stepped onto the rubber. After Brad Lidge blew the save by walking three batters and allowing two runs (a dramatic, 2-2 game-tying two-run shot from Logan Morrison at 429 ft.), Mujica allowed Wilson Ramos to score on a sac fly from Ian Desmond (2 RBI, 441 foot HR) in the bottom of the tenth.

Rangers 10, Tigers 4

The best team in baseball right now, the Texas Rangers offense was once again firing on all cylinders. Only Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus (hitless) failed to notch two hits in the game, but Napoli made up for that by hitting a homer. Miguel Cabrera finished 3-4 with a homer, two runs, and two RBIs, and Delmon Young contributed two hits- including an RBI double to score Cabrera. Adrian Beltre left the game with a strained hamstring.

Mets 5, Giants 4

Angel Pagan went 2-5 with a run and a double in another solid outing against his former team, while Ruben Tejada had three steaks and Daniel Murphy three hits for the victorious Mets. Both Mike Pelfrey and Ryan Vogelsong pitched well, as Vogelsong struck out eight in seven and Pelfrey allowed one run in eight innings.

Yankees 15, Red Sox 9

In a game with two offensive powerhouses, the Yankees emerged the victors by pouring on 15 runs on Boston. Derek Jeter, Eduard Nunez, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher all had three hits. Tex and Swish also has six RBIs, with the first baseman smashing two homers. For the Sox, Big Papi continues to tear the cover off the ball (.691 slugging), as the DH went 4-4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also had four hits. Felix Doubront pitched six good innings for the Sox, but it was Vicente Padilla and former Yankee Alfredo Aceves who allowed five runs each. Yankees starter Freddy Garcia was run out of the game after 1.2 innings of five-run ball. Kevin Youkilis left the game with a left quad contusion in the fourth.

The Yankees scored seven runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, and this is the most demoralizing defeat of many difficult ones to fathom for the Boston Red Sox. They had a 9-0 lead and blew it in record-tying fashion. They have acquired Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs and some cash for, as expected, Michael Bowden and a player to be named. Ben Cherrington did give Bobby Valentine a vote of confidence, but that vote carries little weight with the fans. The Byrd trade seems too desperate, because the Sox will turn it around. The fans have every right to panic, because the Sox don’t look like a playoff team right now. However, they aren’t a poor team and will be even better once their players return to full strength and good regression sits in.

Dodgers 5, Astros 1

Clayton Kershaw shut down the feeble Astros offense through seven innings, as he allowed just three hits and no runs with nine strikeouts. Astros starter Kyle Weiland is 0-3 on the season with a 6.62 ERA, but he pitched well in this loss. Matt Kemp continues to mash, and he hit his ninth home run of the season. Dodgers shortstop and lead-off hitter Dee Gordon ended up going 3-4 with two runs and a double.

Pirates 2, Cardinals 0

Pedro Alvarez went 2-4 with two RBIs, and superstar Andrew McCutchen went 2-4 with two runs to provide all the offense the Pittsburgh Pirates needed in this one. Jake Westbrook did a decent job against the Pirates, but he couldn’t match A.J. Burnett‘s nastiness. The veteran starter looks like a new man on the Pirates, and he was great in this one. Burnett tossed seven scoreless while allowing just three hits and two walks, and he struck out seven (just 76 pitches). This was his first start of the season after a DL trip, and we’ll see how he holds up this year. I’m hoping for more of this, that’s for sure.

Tigers 3, Rangers 2

The Detroit Tigers split the double-header with the Rangers, as yesterday’s game was postponed. In this contest, Jose Valverde earned his fourth save of the year after keeping things safe for ace Justin Verlander, who allowed just four hits and one unearned run with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings. Over on the Rangers, Neftali Feliz allowed just three hits, three runs, four walks, and struck out six in an eight-inning complete game. Both pitching performances were somewhat of a wash, although the edge goes to Verlander.

Blue Jays 9, Royals 5

The 3-11 Royals are getting some good baseball out of lead-off hitter and 2B Yuniesky Betancourt (.500 slugging), and he knocked two hits for the losing side. Shortstop Alcides Escobar went 4-4 from his No. 8 spot, and both doubled in this game. Alex Gordon had two hits, two runs, and a homer in the first. Eric Hosmer also homered for the Royals, while Colby Rasmus hit two for the Jays. Rasmus had three hits and four RBIs, and Edwin Encarnacion also had three hits, a homer, three RBIs, and two runs.

Brewers 9, Rockies 4

Troy Tulowitzki went 2-4 with two RBIs, but the offense was mostly clicking on the Milwaukee side. Their shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, ended up going 3-4 with four RBIs, and star Ryan Braun went 2-4 with two steaks and run apiece. He tripled and homered, and Gonzalez scored in Braun and Corey Hart on his three-run shot in the seventh. Braun’s homer traveled 448 feet.

Both starters pitched well, as rookie Drew Pomeranz delivered five solid innings and allowed just two hits while striking out six for the Rockies. Marco Estrada, meanwhile, had a strong game and struck out nine with just two hits, one run, and no walks allowed in five innings.

Rays 4, Twins 1

It was another fine performance for James Shields, as the Rays starter is now 3-0 on the season with a 2.76 ERA. Although it took him 119 pitches, he mowed down the Twins in eight innings of one-run ball. Shields allowed just five hits and two walks with seven K’s. Fernando Rodney finished with his fifth save of the game and struck out two hitters. Joe Mauer went 2-4, while B.J. Upton went 2-3 with two RBIs for the winning team.

Braves 3, Diamondbacks 2

Braves starter Tommy Hanson followed up Brandon Beachy‘s great pitching performance against the D’Backs yesterday by pitching well against ‘Zona in this one. He allowed five hits, two runs, and a walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Diamondbacks starter Joe Saunders didn’t pitch poorly, but I think he’d like to take back that homer that Dan Uggla hit off of him in the third. Michael Bourn and Martin Prado both went 2-4 at the top of the Braves order.

Padres 5, Phillies 1

Although Roy Halladay pitched well in seven innings for the Phillies, he received the loss despite allowing just two runs in seven. That’s what happens when Cory Luebke has the game of his life against a team with just three good hitters playing. The Padres starter was terrific, as he wove an eight-inning gem and allowed just two hits, no runs, and two walks. The only run the Phillies pushed across was a Ty Wigginton double in the ninth to score Jimmy Rollins; it came off of Huston Street (two strikeouts in that inning).

Angels 6, Orioles 3

Speaking of good pitching performances, Jered Weaver received his third win of the year and a Game Score of 70 by tossing a complete game against the O’s. He allowed five hits, three runs, no walks, and struck out five in the game. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s starter Jake Arrieta allowed six hits, three walks, and five runs in 4.1 innings. Matt Wieters hit a homer off of Weaver and finished with three RBIs, and Adam Jones went 2-4 with two runs and a triple. For the Halos, Erick Aybar went 2-5, and Kendrys Morales and Chris Iannetta also had two hits each. Iannetta’s double was the only extra base hit for the Angels.

Indians 5, Athletics 1

The Indians have a  2-0 series lead against the Oakland Athletics, as Jeanmar Gomez and the excellent Cleveland bullpen made sure that the Indians would come away with a W. Gomez allowed one run in 5.1 innings, and the Indians made Brandon McCarthy look average throughout seven innings. The 0-3 starter has received no run support all year, but he did allow ten hits and two runs in this game. His season ERA sits at 3.38.

Jonny Gomes had two hits for the A’s, and Yoenis Cespedes (15 RBIs) drove in the team’s only run on a sac fly to score Cliff Pennington, who doubled in this game. Pennington’s hot streak boosted his clout in the lineup, as he is now the No. 2 hitter after being the No. 9 hitter at the beginning of the year.

For the Indians, five hitters had at least two hits, including third baseman Jack Hannahan and DH Travis Hafner. 2B Jason Kipnis was the star of the night, as he went 4-5 with three RBIs and two runs. His only extra base hit in this game was a triple off of Brian Fuentes to score two runners, and he later scored on a gift of a wild pitch from Fuentes.

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Tags: Chicago White Sox MLB Game Recaps Phil Humber Seattle Mariners

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