Yusmeiro Petit may not have been perfect in last night’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he came as close to immortality as a pitcher can get. There have been just 21 perfect games in modern baseball history, and Petit came within a strike of immortalizing himself with the likes of Felix Hernandez, Randy Johnson, and the other 19 pitchers who have recorded the elusive 27 up, 27 down.
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Through the first 8 2/3 innings of perfection, Petit recorded seven strike outs against the Diamondbacks in just his third start of the year and 40th of his career. Petit has spent almost his entire career in the minor leagues and has been trying to prove that he can be a solid arm in the Giants starting rotation. After this most recent start, he has a strong argument for his case.
After recording the first 26 consecutive outs, pinch hitter Eric Chavez came to the plate for the ‘Backs. Petit worked a full count and was just one strike away from having his team mob him on the mound in celebration for one of the rarest and most exciting feats in the game. But, on what could have been the final pitch, Chavez hit a looping line drive to right field. Outfielder Hunter Pence came in to try to make a diving catch to save the game, but came up no more than a foot short on a painful short hop that ended the perfect bid.
Petit recorded the next out, giving him a one hit shut out facing just 28 batters. It is not going to go down in the history books, but still was a dominant performance that most pitchers only dream to have.
It was just the 12th time in major league history that a pitcher has come within one out of a perfect game. The same heart breaking situation happened earlier this year to Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who also completed the game with just one hit.
Image: USA Today Sports