Mariners shut down by Humber in perfect game

By Todd Dybas

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Phil Humber, front right, is embraced after pitching a perfect baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, April 21, 2012, in Seattle. The White Sox won 4-0.

Elaine Thompson, Associated Press

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."

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