An Oakland A's pitcher threw a perfect game Sunday in front of a small hometown crowd on Mother's Day. The 12,228 who showed up for the game saw Dallas Braden become just the 19th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the feat.
It took Braden 109 pitches to retire all 27 batters against the Tampa Bay Rays -- 77 of the pitches were strikes. The final score was 4-0, but all the other zeroes are what made the game special.
Braden threw his arms in the air after Gabe Kapler grounded out to the shortstop for the final out. The left-hander pointed to the sky in honor of his mom, Jodie Atwood, who died of cancer when he was a high school senior. He then shared a long and tearful hug with his grandma, Peggy Lindsey, the woman who raised him, in front of the dugout.
"It's without a doubt a team effort," Braden said. "You got eight guys out there chasing balls and knocking balls down for me. So this is ours, not just mine, this is ours."
Before Sunday, Braden was probably best known for his angry reaction when Yankee-great Alex Rodriguez walked across the pitching mound on April 22. The squabble was still making news last week. On Friday in Boston, A-Rod said he didn't want "to extend his extra 15 minutes of fame." Braden took care of that himself by throwing the no hitter.
It was also the very first complete game of his career.
It was the majors' first perfect game since Mark Buehrle did it for the White Sox against the Rays on July 23.
An A's pitcher hasn't thrown a perfect game since Catfish Hunter did it May 8, 1968. Dave Stewart threw a no-hitter in Toronto on June 29, 1990.
It was also a quick game, lasting just over two hours. A perfect game means none of the 27 batters make it to first base. A no-hitter means no one gets a hit, but batters can get on base either by a walk or an error.
Last Mother's Day does not hold a good memory for Braden. He was hit by a line drive by Vernon Wells one year ago.
"You know, a year later you don't expect anything like this," he said. "I'm just happy to be putting on the costume a year later."
Here's the box scorecard:
Athletics 4, Rays 0
Tampa Bay Oakland
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Bartlett ss 3 0 0 0 Pnngtn ss 5 1 1 0
Crwfrd lf 3 0 0 0 Barton 1b 5 2 3 0
Zobrist 2b 3 0 0 0 RSwny rf 4 0 2 1
Longori 3b 3 0 0 0 Kzmnff 3b 4 1 2 1
C.Pena 1b 3 0 0 0 EChavz dh 3 0 1 0
BUpton cf 3 0 0 0 ARosls 2b 3 0 1 0
WAyar dh 3 0 0 0 Pattrsn lf 4 0 0 0
Navarr c 3 0 0 0 Powell c 4 0 2 1
Kapler rf 3 0 0 0 RDavis cf 4 0 0 0
Totals 0 0 0
Umpires--Home, Jim Wolf; First, Derryl Cousins; Second, Jim Joyce; Third, Todd Tichenor.