Felix Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners' first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, dominating the Tampa Bay Rays in a stellar 1-0 victory on Aug. 15.
For quite some time, the winner of the 2010 Cy Young award has talked about his desire to throw a perfect game. He finally did it against the Rays, finishing with 12 strikeouts and striking out the side twice.
It was the third perfect game of the season, a first in major league baseball history. Hernandez's performance joined gems by Chicago's Philip Humber against the Seattle Mariners in April and San Francisco's Matt Cain against the Houston Astros in June. More than half of all perfect games have taken place in the last 25 seasons.
Also, this was the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, three of them have occurred at Safeco Field. Humber threw his gem on June 8 in Seattle. In the same stadium, six Mariners pitchers combined to hold the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless.
It was an all-too-familiar feeling for the Rays. For the third time in four seasons they had a perfect game thrown against them, following great pitching performances by Dallas Braden in 2010 and Mark Buehrle in 2009.
"The one thing I've learned is that no-hitters and perfect games don't mean anything about tomorrow, anyway," Rays' manager, Joe Madden, said.
"I don't have any words to explain this," Hernandez said to the crowd, as he spoke on the field after the last out. "I've been working so hard to throw one and today is for you guys."
At the conclusion of the game, Hernandez (11-5) threw his arms up in the air as he was mobbed by his teammates at the pitcher's mound. He hugged catcher John Jaso for a few seconds and then shared hugs with the rest of his teammates.
"It almost seems like a matter of time before this happens," Jaso said. "A little dribbler here or something it's ruined, but his competitive attitude and competitive mind he brings out to the mound each time he pitches, you know you have a guy out there who is going to give you a chance to win."