DETROIT — Armando Galarraga of the
Detroit Tigers lost his bid for a perfect game Wednesday night with two
outs in the ninth inning on a disputed call at first base. Replays
appeared to show Cleveland hitter Jason Donald was out.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland immediately
argued the call with first base umpire Jim Joyce, and was joined by
several Detroit players who surrounded the ump after the Tigers beat the
Galarraga (2-1) was in complete
control throughout the night and on track for the third perfect game of
the season. Then Donald's groundball became the flash point of the
night, and perhaps the season.
After center fielder Austin Jackson
made a spectacular catch on Mark Grudzielanek's leadoff fly in the ninth
and Mike Redmond grounded out, Donald came up with two outs.
Donald hit a bouncer that first
baseman Miguel Cabrera cleanly fielded to his right. He took his time
and made an accurate throw to Galarraga covering the bag.
The ball appeared to be in Galarraga's
glove just before Donald made it to first base, replays indicated.
Galarraga smiled, held up his glove hand and started to make an out call
with his right hand.
But Joyce, a veteran umpire, made an
emphatic safe call and Comerica Park went silent in disbelief. A couple
of Tigers put their hands to their heads.
Galarraga merely smiled and went back
to work as the crowd started to boo. Cabrera continued to argue the call
as Galarraga quickly retired Trevor Crowe for the one-hit shutout.
Joyce faced a group of hostile Tigers —
led by Leyland — between the pitching mound and home plate after the
final out and was booed lustily by the crowd of 17,738 as he walked off
Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia
Phillies pitched a perfect game Saturday night at Florida, and Dallas
Braden of the Oakland Athletics did it against Tampa Bay on May 9. Until
then, there had never been two perfect games in the same season in the
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a
no-hitter, too, at Atlanta on April 17.
Galarraga struck out three and walked
none, and was a most unlikely star. He was recalled from Triple-A
Toledo on May 16 after pitching poorly during spring training, losing
out in a competition for the final spot in the rotation to Dontrelle
Willis, who was traded Tuesday, and Nate Robertson, who was dealt to
Florida toward before the team broke camp.
The 28-year-old native of Venezuela
had success in 2008, going 13-7, but he had done nothing quite like the
masterful performance he had against the Indians.
He started with a 2-0 count against
Crowe, then attacked the strike zone and kept most of the weakly hit
balls on the infield.
Cabrera hit his 15th homer to give
Detroit a 1-0 lead in the second inning and Magglio Ordonez had an RBI
single in the two-run eighth.
Fausto Carmona (4-4) pitched well. He
gave up three runs — two earned — on nine hits and no walks.
The Indians came close to getting a
hit twice before their disputed single.
Galarraga almost became the first
Tiger to throw a perfect game. Justin Verlander threw the sixth
no-hitter in franchise history on June 12, 2007.