Game 117: Felix Hernandez Becomes Perfect

By David Hill

Jeremy Hellickson pitched a great game for the Rays. The problem was, Felix Hernandez was not just better – he was perfect.

The Rays best chances for hits came courtesy of Sam Fuld, starting in left to give Desmond Jennings a day off. Leading off the game, he hit a drive to right center, tracked down at the wall by Eric Thames. Fuld then led off the top of the fourth with a sharp line drive, which was snared by third baseman Kyle Seager.

Seattle got the lone run of the game in the bottom of the third. Brendan Ryan, who had been 0-9 with six strikeouts lifetime against Hellickson, led off the inning with a base hit. With two out, Ryan stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Jesus Montero‘s RBI single.

From that point, the Mariners only managed a double and a walk against Hellickson, but the damage had been done. Hernandez continued to plow through the Rays batting order. Starting with the sixth inning, perhaps sensing that he was on the verge of making history, Hernandez began the strikeout line. After striking out the side in the sixth, he again struck out the side in the eighth.

Tampa took one last shot in the top of the ninth, sending up pinch hitters Desmond Jennings and Jeff Keppinger. Jennings struck out, and Keppinger grounded to short, leaving Hernandez one out away from history. After falling behind Sean Rodriguez 2-0, he came back, freezing Rodriguez on three straight pitches to notch the 23rd perfect game in MLB history. Hernanez finished with twelve strikeouts, throwing 113 pitches on the day. Hellickson took a tough loss, allowing the one run on five hits and a walk over seven innings.