1. Dallas Braden is Perfect
Here’s the line that pitchers dream about:
9 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 6 SO
Who knows what will happen next for Oakland’s Dallas Braden (4-2) who now has a career 18-23 record, but whatever happens next, he will always be able to say he pitched the 18th perfect game in modern regular season Major League Baseball history (19th overall).
Asked if he’d even thrown a no-hitter before at any level, Braden told assembled reporters, “In Little League, I had a couple under my belt. And in the bullpen, I’m damn near perfect every day.”
In defeating baseball’s best team, the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0, Braden repeated a feat last performed by the A’s Catfish Hunter on May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins. It was Braden’s 53rd start and his first complete game. It was the sixth no-no in Athletics history, the first since Dave Stewart on June 29, 1990, at Toronto.
The Rays lost for just the third time on the road this year and it was the third time in team history that a no-hitter was tossed against them. There were no near misses or close plays in the victory. Braden threw first-pitch strikes to 17 of 27 hitters. He went to three-ball counts only four times, including the last batter.
This was the first perfecto since Mark Buehrle did it for the White Sox against the Rays on July 23, and the second no-hitter this season after Ubaldo Jimenez accomplished it in Atlanta on April 17.
The fact that the feat was accomplished on Mother’s Day as MLB was raising awareness about breast cancer should not be minimized as Braden’s mother, Jodie Atwood, died of skin cancer in 2001 “It hasn’t been a joyous day for me in a while,” said Braden, 26, who lost his mom when he was a senior in high school. “But to know that I still get to come out and compete and play a game on that day, that makes it a little better. With my grandma in the stands, that makes it a lot better. And to be able to give her this today, it’s perfect.”
1. Bartlett lined out to third
2. Crawford grounded out to first
3. Zobrist flied out to center
4. Longoria flied out to center
5. Peña grounded out to first
6. Upton struck out looking
7. Aybar struck out looking
8. Navarro lined out to center
9. Kapler flied out to left
10. Bartlett grounded out to third
11. Crawford struck out swinging
12. Zobrist grounded out to short
13. Longoria struck out swinging
14. Peña flied out to left
15. Upton grounded out to third
16. Aybar struck out swinging
17. Navarro fouled out to third
18. Kapler fouled out to third
19. Bartlett lined out to left
20. Crawford grounded out to second
21. Zobrist flied out to right
22. Longoria flied out to center
23. Peña fouled out to third
24. Upton struck out swinging
25. Aybar lined out to first
26. Navarro lined out to left
27. Kapler grounded out to short
2. Perfect Games
|Cy Young, Red Sox||Athletics||3-0||May 5, 1904|
|Addie Joss, Indians||White Sox||1-0||Oct. 2, 1908|
|Charles Robertson, White Sox||Tigers||2-0||April 30, 1922|
|x-Don Larsen, Yankees||Dodgers||2-0||Oct. 8, 1956|
|Jim Bunning, Phillies||Mets||6-0||June 21, 1964|
|Sandy Koufax, Dodgers||Cubs||1-0||Sept. 9, 1965|
|Catfish Hunter, Athletics||Twins||4-0||May 8, 1968|
|Len Barker, Indians||Blue Jays||3-0||May 15, 1981|
|Mike Witt, Angels||Rangers||1-0||Sept. 30, 1984|
|Tom Browning, Reds||Dodgers||1-0||Sept. 16, 1988|
|Dennis Martinez, Expos||Dodgers||2-0||July 28, 1991|
|Kenny Rogers, Rangers||Angels||4-0||July 28, 1994|
|David Wells, Yankees||Twins||4-0||May 17, 1998|
|David Cone, Yankees||Expos||6-0||July 18, 1999|
|Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks||Braves||2-0||May 18, 2004|
|Mark Buehrle, White Sox||Rays||5-0||July 23, 2009|
|Dallas Braden, Athletics||Rays||4-0||May 9, 2010|
|x-World Series; Source: The Associated Press|
John Ward, Providence vs. Buffalo, 5-0, June 17, 1880
John Richmond, Worcester vs. Cleveland, 1-0, June 12, 1880
May 10, 2010, Dallas Braden vs. Tampa Bay, 4-0-x
June 29, 1990, Dave Stewart at Toronto, 5-0
Sept. 29, 1983, Mike Warren vs. Chicago, 3-0
Sept. 28, 1975, Vida Blue (5 innings), Glenn Abbott (1), Paul Lindblad (1) and Rollie Fingers (2) vs. California, 5-0
Sept. 21, 1970, Vida Blue vs. Minnesota, 6-0
May 8, 1968, Catfish Hunter vs. Minnesota, 4-0-x
Sept. 3, 1947, Bill McCahan vs. Washington, 3-0
Sept. 9, 1945, Dick Fowler vs. St. Louis, 1-0
Aug. 26, 1916, Joe Bush vs. Cleveland, 5-0
May 12, 1910, Charles Bender vs. Cleveland, 4-0
July 22, 1905, Weldon Henley at St. Louis, 6-0
No-hitters vs. Tampa Bay Rays
May 9, 2010, Dallas Braden, A’s, 4-0-x
July 23, 2009, Mark Buehrle, White Sox, 5-0-x
April 27, 2002, Derek Lowe, Red Sox, 10-0
x – perfect game
3. Tyler Clippard is Perfect too, in a different way
No, Tyler Clippard did not throw a perfect game yesterday but he did join Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay as the only six-game winners in baseball and only Clippard is a perfect 6-0. Clippard picked up another vulture win yesterday as Josh Willingham homered off Clay Hensley (1-1) in the 8th inning as the Nationals topped the Marlins, 3-2. Jorge Cantu had tied the game in the top of the inning with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Clippard.
The Nationals picked up their sixth series victory, something they didn’t accomplish last season until July 22. Nationals’ starter Livan Hernandez ERA rose to 1.04 after seven innings of one-run ball. Clippard (6-0) has two more victories than any Washington starter. Matt Capps got the final three outs for his major league-leading 13th save.
Hanley Ramirez homered for the Marlins, who have lost five of six. Florida still has no homers from a left-handed hitter.
4. So is Leake
Remember your first job after college?
Last season, Mike Leake was pitching for the Arizona State Sun Devils and, without a game in the minors, this season joined the Cincinnati Reds and after they beat the Cubs yesterday 5-3, Leake is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA
Joey Votto hit a three-run homer in the 7th to secure the win.
Here are some highlights from Leake’s 2009 Junior season at ASU:
- Named the National Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy and National Pitcher of the Year
- Named the Academic All-American of the Year
- Won the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award for the second straight season, becoming the first ever back-to-back winner and fourth two-time winner
- Unanimous First Team All-American
- Finished the year as the nation’s win leader with a 16-1 record
- Led the Pac-10 with a 1.71 ERA, 142 innings pitched and 162 strike outs
- Opponents hit .193 against him, second lowest in the Pac-10
- Threw seven complete games, including two straight shutouts
- His 40 career wins is second most in school history in the aluminum bat era and tied for the third most ever and tied for the most ever wins in school history by a three-year pitcher
5. Rangers Perfect
David Murphy had three hits and drove in two runs and the Rangers were perfect in their weekend endeavors with the Royals, defeating them yesterday 6-4 to complete a four-game sweep. Doug Mathis (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory and Neftali Feliz got his third save in the series and ninth in 10 chances overall.
The Rangers won for the 10th time in 13 games.
6. Milwaukee is perfect too
Maybe it was my appearance last week with Justin Hull, the host of “The Home Stretch” weekday afternoons from 2-5 on Appleton (WI) Sports Radio AM 1570/95.3 the Score as we talked about the Brewers, then again maybe not. But whatever it is, something worked as Milwaukee got homers from Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Gregg Zaun and the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks 6-1 to complete a three-game sweep.
Ian Kennedy (2-2) failed in his bid for a third straight victory as the Brewers won for the fifth time in six games. It must have been me.
7. Red Sox Happily Imperfect
The Red Sox defeated the Yankees last night 9-3 preventing the Yankees from taking three straight and stopping an odd series of Red Sox sweeps. Jon Lester proved to be the Red Sox answer as he is now 3-0 with 30 strikeouts and a 0.98 ERA in his last four starts, lowering his ERA from 8.44 to 3.71. Last season, he had a 6.51 ERA through eight starts and finished at 3.41. Lester has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts and allowed just three earned runs in his last 27.2 innings.
Prior to last night’s victory, the Red Sox were involved in three straight series sweeps, oddly on the winning end for two of them:
|Mon, Apr 26||@ Toronto||W 13-12|
|Tue, Apr 27||@ Toronto||W 2-1|
|Wed, Apr 28||@ Toronto||W 2-0|
|Fri, Apr 30||@ Baltimore||L 5-4 in 10|
|Sat, May 1||@ Baltimore||L 12-9|
|Sun, May 2||@ Baltimore||L 3-2 in 10|
|Mon, May 3||LA Angels||W 17-8|
|Tue, May 4||LA Angels||W 5-1|
|Wed, May 5||LA Angels||W 3-1|
|Thu, May 6||LA Angels||W 11-6|
|Fri, May 7||NY Yankees||L 10-3|
|Sat, May 8||NY Yankees||L 14-3|
|Sun, May 9||NY Yankees||W 9-3|
A.J. Burnett (4-1) continues to be vexed at Fenway. Last night he lasted 4.1 innings and gave up nine runs, matching his career high, also set in Boston last Aug. 22. He’s the first opposing pitcher since 1952 to give up eight runs or more in three different games at Fenway.
Alex Rodriguez tied Hall of Famer Frank Robinson for seventh place with 586 career homers with his third homer of the season and his 21st homer at Fenway Park, along with Jim Thome, the most there by an active player.
Brett Gardner has an 11-game hitting streak.
8. Coming Next to a Ball Field Near You
Yankees (Sergio Mitre) at Tigers (Dontrelle Willis), 7:05
Blue Jays (Brandon Morrow) at Red Sox (John Lackey), 7:10
Rays (Matt Garza) at Angels (Joel Pineiro), 10:05
Reds (Bronson Arroyo) at Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf), 7:05
Nationals (Luis Atilano) at Mets (John Maine), 7:10
Marlins (Nate Robertson) at Cubs (Ted Lilly), 8:05
Braves (Tommy Hanson) at Brewers (Doug Davis), 8:10
Phillies (Kyle Kendrick) at Rockies (Greg Smith), 8:40
Dodgers (Chad Billingsley) at Diamondbacks (Rodrigo Lopez), 9:40
9. I Love Walkoffs
I find a walkoff hit a perfect way to end any game. Hunter Pence drove in Lance Berkman with a walkoff double in the 11th inning and the Astros beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 to snap a three-game losing streak. Pence and Carlos Lee went b-to-b in the 6th and Pedro Feliz drove in the tying run with a sac fly off closer Heath Bell, who blew his second save of the season, in the 9th.
Amidst talk of possibly being traded along with Berkman, Roy Oswalt struck out a season-high nine in eight innings for a no-decision. The Astros have scored five runs in Oswalt’s 34 innings this season.