In just his third start and fourth appearance of the 2013 MLB regular season, 28-year-old San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit was one out away from a perfect game. Petit struck out seven batters in the complete-game, 95-pitch effort, leading the Giants to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Perfect or not, it was an absolutely sensational pitching performance.
Giants P Yusmeiro Petit comes up 1 out shy of 22nd perfect game in MLB History. Petit throws a one-hitter as Giants beat DBacks, 3-0.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 7, 2013
Regardless of the ninth-inning misfortune, Petit had the outing of a lifetime.
Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit's final line in near-perfect game: 9 IP, one hit, seven Ks, 95 pitches. It was Petit's first career CG.— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 7, 2013
As disappointing as it may be, Petit was outstanding.
The Venezuelan right-hander silenced the Diamondbacks' bats for 8.2 innings, ultimately giving way to an Eric Chavez single. Rather than backing down once his bid for perfection was ended, he shut down the next hitter he faced and completed the shutout.
Even still, we can't help but harp on what could've been.
Inches separated Petit from greatness.
With Chavez's perfection-ending single, Petit becomes the second player in 2013 to lose a perfect game with one out remaining. The other player to face that fate was Cy Young award nominee Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers.
Pleasant company for an unpleasant reason.
Yusmeiro Petit is the 12th player to lose a perfect game with 2 outs in the 9th inning (2nd this season - Darvish)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 7, 2013
This is a continuation of what has been a breakout month for Petit, as the 28-year-old has been stellar in limited action. Through four appearances and three starts, he is now 3-0 with an ERA of 2.05.
In his previous start, Petit shut down the Diamondbacks during an 8-2 win on Sept. 1. He went 6.0 innings, allowing two earned runs and struck out a career-high 10 batters en route to the victory.
There's just something about playing the Diamondbacks that brings the best out of him.
Petit last served as a full-time starter in 2009 for, perhaps not-so-coincidentally, the Diamondbacks. He went 3-10 that season with a 5.82 ERA in 17 starts. He made one MLB appearance between then and this season, coming last year with the Giants.
Perhaps this was a measure of revenge against his former club. Perhaps it was destiny.
One way or another, it was unforeseen.
Yusmeiro Petit would have been one of unlikeliest to throw a perfecto. His 1-hitter gave Petit 3 wins this season - tying a career high— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 7, 2013
If that's not enough for you, try the fact that Petit hadn't played an MLB game since 2009 before this season.
Yusmeiro Petit has thrown exactly 30 innings in the big leagues since 2009. He's 3 outs away from a perfect game.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) September 7, 2013
Petit may not have completed the perfect game, but this is why we love sports.
This would've marked MLB's first perfect game since Felix Hernandez blanked the Tampa Bay Rays during the Seattle Mariners' 1-0 win on Aug. 15, 2012. He would've been the first National League player to achieve the feat since teammate Matt Cain shut down the Houston Astros during a 10-0 win on Jun. 13, 2012.
Instead, Petit walks away with the pride of dominating a division rival and giving his fan base something to cheer for in a down season.
This is the second time this season a struggling Giants pitcher has thrived, as Tim Lincecum no-hit the San Diego Padres during a 9-0 win on Jul. 13, 2013. While it hasn't been a spectacular season for the Giants, this is a glimmering sign of hope.
If not, it's a piece of baseball history, as Petit came one pitch away from completing a perfect game.