Philip Humber's charming redemption story has reached a stunning climax, as he retired all 27 batters he faced in a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Humber struck out 9 using a incredible curveball, and induced loads of weak contact all day. A 4th inning lineout by Dustin Ackley was the only hard hit ball of the game.
While he obviously wasn't challenged all game, the drama ramped up in the 9th. Humber fell behind 3-0 to Michael Saunders before recovering to record the strikeout. He similarly fell into a 3-2 count against final batter Brendan Ryan, and on his second 3-2 delivery, induced a check swing from Ryan on a curveball in the dirt that was ruled strike three. As Ryan argued the call, A.J. Pierzynski gathered it and threw the first to complete the perfecto. He was immediately mobbed on the field, and toasted to in the locker room.
While acknowledging possible avenues for digression like "the Mariners lineup is terrible" and "the final strike of the game was highly dubious and Fox inexplicably didn't show the replay", this is a truly incredible accomplishment by Philip Humber. He's clawed his way up from being an anonymous post-Tommy John surgery, waiver-wire fill-in, to a guy with a steady spot in the rotation, to a fringe All-Star candidate, and now someone with a perfect game.
As hard and improbable as Humber's path has been, it simply doesn't get more rare than this.
Thanks for this one, Philip. I know I'll never forget it.