All hail King Félix!
The twenty-six year old Mariners pitching phenom solidified his place in baseball history by becoming the first Seattle pitcher to toss a perfect game in front of 21,000+ cheering fans on a sunny summer day at Safeco Field. The Mariners scored just one run against the Tampa Bay Rays, but that was all it took to win the game in the 9th inning. Hernández was dominant, striking out twelve batters. He retired the last batter he faced after initially falling behind in the count 2-0.
Safeco Field erupted in jubilant celebration following the final strikeout.
A pitcher is considered to have pitched a perfect game when no batter from the opposing team reaches first base.
In other words, the pitcher (backed up by the defense on the infield and the outfield) has to retire every batter he faces, for a total of twenty-seven consecutive outs. A perfect game is, by definition, also a no-hitter.
Six Mariners pitchers collectively tossed a no-hitter earlier this season against the Los Angeles Dodgers (on June 8th), tying the record for a no-hitter with the most pitchers involved. That was quite an accomplishment… but this is something else.
Asked by Root Sports when he realized that he might be on the verge of making history, he replied, “It was in my mind the whole game. I was like, ‘Come on, you gotta do it. You gotta do it. When I came out in the ninth, I was a bit nervous.”
No doubt he was, but he got the outs he needed.
The Mariners’ John Jaso also shares in the accomplishment. He is the first Seattle catcher to call a perfect game. He’ll surely remember this day (and his successful partnership with Félix) for the rest of his career.
The gem was only the twenty-third perfect game in Major League Baseball history. It was the third perfect game this season, which is a new MLB record.
The Mariners were on actually on the losing end of one of the two previous perfect games pitched earlier this season; now it’s their turn to win one.
Elected leaders were quick to congratulate Hernándezon the feat.
“Today all of Seattle is the King’s Court,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Using all four of his pitches, King Félix blew the Rays out of the water. Backed up by some of the best defensive players in the game, King Félix and the Seattle Mariners made history at Safeco Field. I congratulate him on this incredible achievement and know that all of Seattle joins the Mariners in celebrating today’s game.”
“Today we saw a piece of baseball history here in King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, also a big Mariners fan.
“Congratulations to Félix Hernández on pitching the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history and the first in Seattle Mariners history. He was just awesome. He made us proud. Today he proved he truly is the King.”
The linescore of today’s game
|WP: Félix Hernández (11–5) LP: Jeremy Hellickson (7–8)|
No doubt wherever he is now, Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus is beaming. My, oh my. What a game.