SEATTLE — Brendan Ryan spiked his helmet and started arguing with umpire Brian Runge as the Chicago White Sox celebrated baseball's 21st perfect game.
It was that kind of day for the Seattle Mariners.
Phil Humber threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field on Saturday.
"It was one of them freak days in baseball, you come to the ballpark and you never know what is going to happen," Seattle leadoff hitter Chone Figgins said.
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 tried to check his swing and missed at a full-count pitch, but the ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Ryan lingered outside the batter's box for a minute, unsure of umpire Runge's call, and Pierzynski fired to first to complete the play.
Humber then fell to his knees and was tackled by teammates while Ryan stewed, throwing his helmet down and objecting to Runge's call.
"I don't really want to talk about it," Ryan said. "I will say it was a pretty outstanding game he threw. Had his slider working, obviously in and out of the zone, kept his pitch count down. ... Pretty outstanding stuff from him today."
It was baseball's first perfect game since Philadelphia's Roy Halladay threw one against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. It was the third in White Sox's history, joining Mark Buehrle against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, and Charles Robertson against Detroit on April 30, 1922.
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 major league history.
"I don't even know what to say," Humber 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."
Humber struck out nine and threw just 96 pitches in his first career complete game. He went to a three-ball count only three times.
It was quite a contrast to his first start of the season, when he went 5 1-3 innings and threw 115 pitches in a no-decision against Baltimore on Monday.
"Humber pitched a great ballgame and Pierzynski did a great job working with him out there," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We really never got anything going.
Humber admitted he was nervous and aware of what was at stake in the ninth. Ryan joined him.
"I was so fired up to get the opportunity, get the chance to wreck it," Ryan said. "My heart might have been pounding harder than his was."
It was the third no-hitter thrown against Seattle. Mark Langston and Mike Witt of the Angels combined on one on April 11, 1990, and Dwight Gooden of the Yankees threw one on May 14, 1996.
Humber struck out the side in the second while cruising through the first four innings in just 45 pitches. Figgins' fly ball to left in the fourth was the first ball to reach the outfield.
Dustin Ackley followed with a hard liner to right that Alex Rios reached up and stabbed.
"When I hit it and saw the trajectory I felt that's a ball in the gap," Ackley said. "I was telling some guys that guy out there must be 6-foot-6 or however tall and was playing deep and made a great play on it."
Justin Smoak struck out swinging to start the eighth. Kyle Seager lofted a fly to left that looked momentarily like it had a chance to land, but it was brought in by Dayan Viciedo. Jesus Montero followed with an easy ground ball to second base, sending the perfect game to the ninth.
"When you talk about our younger players, even some that have been around a bit, when you go through something like this it's history, but it's also something you have to learn from," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "You feel where you are heartbeat-wise in the latter innings of that game and learn from that. Learn at certain times when you go through different at-bats what happened and why. ... You've got to learn from anything like this."
Paul Konerko hit his second home run of the season and No. 398 for his career in the second. He also had a run-scoring single in the third.
Mariners starter Blake Beavan (1-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.
Humber was drafted No. 3 overall by the New York Mets in 2004, one pick after Justin Verlander went to the Detroit Tigers. But Humber was sidelined by elbow-ligament replacement surgery the following year and didn't win a game in the majors until 2010 with Kansas City.
He becomes the latest one-time Mets pitcher who went on to throw a no-hitter elsewhere, a group that includes Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Gooden and David Cone. New York has never had a no-hitter in its 51-year history. The only other team without one is San Diego, which began play in 1969.Comment on this story
"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."
NOTES: There were three no-hitters last year: Francisco Liriano of Minnesota, Verlander and Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels. ... Seattle reliever Hisashi Iwakuma made his major league debut Friday night, becoming the last player on an Opening Day roster who was not hurt or optioned to the minor leagues to do so.
Associated Press writer Manuel Valdes in Seattle contributed to this report.