<
>

A.J. nearly guides perfection again

New Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski nearly caught his second perfect game in one calendar year, but fell one out short Tuesday.

Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish retired 26 consecutive batters before giving up a single to the Houston Astros' Marwin Gonzalez with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rangers ended up with an easy 7-0 victory.

Pierzynski was also behind the plate on April 21 of last year with the Chicago White Sox when Philip Humber was perfect against the Seattle Mariners.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a shutout in my life just because how close we came, but Yu pitched a great game,” Pierzynski told Fox Sports Southwest immediately after the game. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

There was plenty of perfect game royalty in Minute Maid Park on Tuesday as not only was Pierzynski behind the plate for the Rangers, but Humber was in the dugout for the Astros. Humber is set to make his Astros debut Wednesday against the Rangers.

Pierzynski thought that maybe he jinxed the proceedings.

“I saw Phil sitting there,” Pierzynski said. “We got two outs (in the ninth inning) and I kind of looked over at him and he looked back. Maybe that was it, I don’t know. To get that close and not have it happen was disappointing.”

Pierzynski was also on hand when Mark Buehrle threw his perfect game for the White Sox on July 23, 2009, but he wasn’t on the field that day. Ramon Castro was filling in when Buehrle retired all 27 Tampa Bay Rays batters he faced.

Ron Hassey remains the only catcher to sit behind the plate for two perfect games. He caught one from Len Barker in 1981 with the Cleveland Indians and another from Dennis Martinez in 1991 with the Montreal Expos.