With perfect games being kind of rare it comes as no surprise that it didn't happen. What was surprising was the way it came to an end (hint--those **** umpires).
Houston is having a not-so-good season so it comes as little surprise that for the second time this season Darvish has a shot at perfect game against the Astros. Much like the game to start the season he got off to a strong start in this one. He struck out the first three batters he faced and five of the first nine to get the ball rolling.
Through 5 2/3 innings he recorded 11 strikeouts and was well on his way to another perfect game bid, but than this happened:
As you can see, Darvish and catcher A.J. Pierzynski thought this was the third strike and the inning was over, but the umpire Ron Kulpa thought differently. It is important to note that while Pierzynski appears to have to go low to catch the ball it crossed the plate at in the strike zone before dropping.
The next pitch was another ball--ball four--and the perfect game bid was lost.
Pierzynski told the ump how he felt about such a questionable call costing his pitcher a chance at history. It is hard to tell if it was what he said or how he said it--or maybe the ump was looking for a fight and an excuse to toss someone--but the ump didn't go for it and tossed him.
|From Business Insider|
Darvish ended up losing the no-hitter in the eighth inning when Houston's Carlos Corporan tagged him for a home run. At that point there was no need to keep Darvish in the game any longer so Joe Nathan came in to close it out and preserve the win, 2-1.
It sucks that Darvish had to lose the perfect game the way he did, but I was impressed with Pierzynski for sticking up for his pitcher. Maybe the umpire was looking for a fight; maybe A.J. said something pretty choice to warrant getting tossed.
We'll probably never know. I just hope this does not end up being another case of the umpire or league saying afterwards that the call was wrong. That's just like adding salt to the wound.
Fans have to be happy with the end result though. The win improved the team's record to 69-50 and put them a full game in front of the Oakland Athletics in the AL West.
Kinda hard to complain about that.