27 up, 27 down.
That’s all it took for Armando Galarraga to pitch the first perfect game in Tigers’ history Wednesday evening.
This caps an extremely quick turnaround in Galarraga’s up and down career.
Galarraga won 13 games in his 2008 rookie season, but followed that up with a 5.64 ERA in the 2009 campaign.
He was not on the Opening Day roster this year. Given the struggles and eventual release of Dontrelle Willis, Galarraga was given one more chance to prove he can make it in the big leagues.
He certainly took full advantage of it.
However, perfection almost never happened.
The spectacular catch made by Austin Jackson to begin the ninth inning evoked memories of Willie Mays’ over-the-head grab in the 1954 World Series.
Once again, the Cleveland Indians were going to be on the wrong side of history.
When Jackson secured the catch, fans everywhere knew that something special was about to happen.
Galarraga reached immortality when first base umpire Jim Joyce correctly called Cleveland’s Jason Donald out on a very close play to end the game.
On that play, Donald hit a slow grounder to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who fielded the ball and quickly shoveled it to Galarraga for the final out.
Two perfect defensive plays were needed to preserve perfection on this night.
Galarraga joins Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay as the third pitcher to throw a perfect game this season.
All three have been thrown within a month of each other. That is mind blowing when you consider the fact that it took over 100 years to throw 18 perfect games.
I think it’s safe to say the steroid era of Baseball is over. Pitchers have reclaimed the diamond once again.