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Mark Buehrle pitches perfect game

He gets a great catch from center fielder DeWayne Wise in the ninth inning of the White Sox' 5-0 win over the Rays.

July 24, 2009|Mark Gonzales

Mark Buehrle raised his arms, grabbed his head and braced himself Thursday for a human pileup along the first base line.

Buehrle flawlessly pitched the White Sox into a share of first place in the American League Central in impeccable style with the 18th perfect game in major league history.

As soon as shortstop Alexei Ramirez threw to first baseman Josh Fields to retire Jason Bartlett for the final out, Buehrle completed the latest achievement in his storied career with a victory over defending AL champion Tampa Bay 5-0 in front of 28,036 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I never thought I'd throw a no-hitter, never thought I'd throw a perfect game and I never thought I'd hit a home run," Buehrle said. "Never say never in this game because crazy stuff can happen."

Buehrle, 30, a four-time All-Star, became only the sixth pitcher in big-league history to throw a perfect game and another no-hitter.

He pitched a no-hitter against Texas in 2007, and he hit a home run at Milwaukee last month.

Thursday's achievement marked the 17th no-hitter in White Sox history and only the second perfect game. Charles Robertson had the other at Detroit on April 30, 1922.

Buehrle (11-3) joined Frank Smith (1905, 1908) as the only White Sox pitchers to throw two no-hitters.

Buehrle's perfection couldn't have arrived at a more opportune time for the White Sox, who moved into a share of first place for the first time since May 1 as they open a four-game series Friday at co-leader Detroit.

Since losing to the Tigers in the first game of a June 8 doubleheader that infuriated Manager Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox have posted a 24-14 record.

"The perfect game is the story, but the fact that we won the game, won the series against Tampa Bay and go into Detroit with some momentum . . . . that hopefully will carry into this weekend," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who rested as Ramon Castro handled the game.

Fields was the hitting hero, giving Buehrle the only run support he needed on a grand slam in the second inning off Scott Kazmir. Dewayne Wise provided the fielding highlight, robbing Gabe Kapler of a home run for the first out in the ninth inning.

In not allowing any Rays batter on base, Buehrle relied on his breaking ball and off-speed pitches.

"One of the toughest things I've seen in my life is to see Buehrle throw a no-hitter," Guillen said. "Not because he can't, it's because his game plan is to make sure those guys put the ball in play and try to get out of there as quickly as he can.

"I was talking to his wife [Jamie] right after the game, and I said, 'Whenever I think he can't do something, he always do it.' It's amazing. We're excited."

Jamie Buehrle said she was trying "not to throw up" in the ninth inning because of nerves, but Wise preserved history with the best catch of his career.

Wise, who was inserted into center field for defensive purposes, sprinted to left-center field in a desperate effort to catch Kapler's drive.

He leaped above the fence to make the catch and momentarily lost control of the ball before grabbing it and falling to the ground for the first out.

"It was a special moment for Buehrle and Wise," Kapler said. "They earned it."

Plate umpire Eric Cooper also worked behind the plate for Buehrle's no-hitter in 2007.

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mgonzales@tribune.com

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

Perfect games

AMERICAN LEAGUE

*--* Pitcher Date Mark Buehrle July 23, 2009 David Cone July 18, 1999 David Wells May 17, 1998 Kenny Rogers July 28, 1994 Mike Witt Sept. 30, 1984 Len Barker May 15, 1981 Catfish Hunter May 8, 1968 Don Larsen* Oct. 8, 1956 Charlie Robertson April 30, 1922 Addie Joss Oct. 2, 1908 Cy Young May 5, 1904 *--*

* Game 5, 1956 World Series

NATIONAL LEAGUE

*--* Pitcher Date Randy Johnson May 18, 2004 Dennis Martinez July 28, 1991 Tom Browning Sept. 16, 1988 Sandy Koufax Sept. 9, 1965 Jim Bunning June 21, 1964 Monte Ward June 17, 1880 Lee Richmond June 12, 1880 *--*

Source: MLB.com

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