Tylerite Pitches Perfect Game
By PHIL HICKS
Tyler resident Philip Humber made history Saturday in Seattle.
Humber, the Chicago White Sox pitcher and Carthage High School graduate, was perfect against the Seattle Mariners. He tossed the 21st perfect game in Major League history.
"I can't even put it
into words ..." Humber
said. "I'm just so happy. There are so many good things that are happening right now."
Humber retired all 27 Mariner hitters he faced; and put himself in the record books as the White Sox defeated the Mariners 4-0 at Safeco Field.
It is the first perfect game or no-hitter in the Major Leagues this season. The last perfect game was thrown by Roy Halladay on May 29, 2010. The last no-hitter was July 27, 2011, by Ervin Santana.
Humber's wife, Kristan, is nine months pregnant and due May 8. He called her after the game.
Humber was brilliant, mixing in breaking balls with a well-located fastball to keep Seattle off-balance. The closest the Mariners came to getting a hit was in the fourth, when Dustin Ackley lined a ball sharply to right. But Alex Rios made a nice running catch near the warning track, reaching up to snag the drive at the last minute.
"There were a couple of balls there that were hit hard," said Humber, who pitched a complete game to give Rice University the College World Series title in 2003. Brent Lillibridge "made a great play in left and Rios made a great play in right. There's other plays that our guys make look easy that aren't really that easy. I don't know if I'd say I dominated them. Obviously, the balls were hit at people and I'm thankful for that, but a well-pitched game and definitely something I'll never forget."
Humber ran into a scare in the ninth, throwing three straight balls to Michael Saunders. But Humber came back and struck out Saunders to preserve the perfect game.
"When you have a four-run lead, you don't want to walk the leadoff guy out there, no matter what the situation is," Humber said. "Falling behind 3-0, I felt myself kind of overthrowing a little bit. But I was able to get it back over the plate."
John Jaso then flied out before Brendan Ryan, another pinch hitter, struck out to end the game.
Ryan took a checked swing and missed at a full-count pitch that was outside and low, but the ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Ryan lingered outside the batter's box for a minute, unsure of umpire Brian Runge's call, and Pierzynski fired to first to complete the play.
Humber needed only 96 pitches to accomplish the feat, the second fewest in a perfect game to David Cone's 88 (vs. the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999). Humber needed just eight pitches to get through the fourth, and only six in both the fifth and sixth. He struck out nine. It was a contrast to his first start of the year on Monday when he went 5 1-3 innings and threw 115 pitches in a no-decision against Baltimore.
"A lot of credit goes to A.J.," Humber said. "He did a great job of calling pitches today and blocking a lot of balls in the dirt and our offense came out and gave me some runs early, so it was a really good win on top of everything else."
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.
It is the 18th time a White Sox player has thrown a no-hitter and just the third perfect game. Mark Buehrle last accomplished the feat July 23, 2009. It is the first time someone has thrown a perfect game against the Mariners. They were last no-hit May 14, 1996, by Dwight Gooden and the Yankees.
In April 2011, Humber carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. He struck out five and allowed one hit in a 2-0 victory.
Led by Humber, the Class 4A player of the year, Carthage reached the state final in 2001.
Humber threw a three-hit shutout for a 7-0 win in the semifinal. The Bulldogs lost in the final to Fort Worth Western Hills.
Staff Writer Travis Yoesting, MLB.com and The Associated Press contributed to this story.