Humber rides slider to perfect game

Steven Bisig/US Presswire

Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history against the Mariners on Saturday.Philip Humber became the 21st pitcher in major-league history to toss a perfect game as the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0 on Saturday afternoon.

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It was the third perfect game in White Sox history. That ties the club with the New York Yankees with the most perfect games in MLB history. With Don Larsen throwing a perfect game in the World Series for the Yankees, the White Sox are the only franchise with three in the regular season.

Humber became the fourth pitcher to toss a perfect game in the last four seasons. Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden threw perfect games in 2010 after Mark Buehrle threw one for the White Sox in 2009.

It was the first complete game of his career, and he tied a career high with nine strikeouts.

In fact, Humber became one of the least experienced pitchers to toss a perfect game. This was his 30th start and 12th victory of his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one pitcher - Charlie Robertson in 1922 - had fewer wins and starts before retiring all 27 batters since 1900.

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He recorded a game score of 96, the second-highest for the White Sox since the mound was lowered in 1969. Game score rates pitchers based on box score statistics, typically ranging from 0 to 100 with an average near 50.

Humber did not go to a three-ball count until the 9th inning. He was able to recover from both, striking out Michael Saunders and Brendan Ryan. His strikeout of Saunders was the first in Humber’s career after falling behind 3-0 in the count.

One key to Humber’s success was his slider. He threw 32 sliders against the Mariners, including 15 that ended at-bats with an out. Six of his nine strikeouts were on the slider, including both in the ninth inning. He induced batters to chase eight of 17 sliders outside the zone and miss on seven of 19 swings overall.

After throwing his slider on 5 of 37 pitches (14 percent) the first time through the order, he threw 27 on 59 pitches (46 percent) the rest of the game.

Around the Bases

• With Matt Harrison's win in the first game of their doubleheader, Texas Rangers starting pitchers improved to 10-0 this season. According to Elias, it is the first time in franchise history that their starters won their first 10 decisions. The last time it happened for any team was 2003, when the Yankees (16) and San Francisco Giants (10) each reached double figures.

• After blowing a three-run lead in the top of the 9th inning, the New York Mets won on a throwing error by Giants catcher Buster Posey. Elias confirms that it was the first win in Mets history in which the game ended on an error by the opposing catcher.

• The Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Ian Desmond. It was their third walk-off win of the season, tops in the majors.