Yankees’ Domingo German throws first perfect game since 2012

The perfect game, which took place between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics, was 24th in MLB history.

Domingo German pitches against the Oakland Athletics
The New York Yankees' Domingo German pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Oakland, California, the US on June 28 [Godofredo Aa Vasquez/AP Photo]

Since arriving in United States Major League Baseball (MLB) six years ago, Domingo German has been anything but perfect.

Until now.

The New York Yankees right-hander pitched the 24th perfect game in MLB history Wednesday night, retiring every Oakland batter in an 11-0 victory over the Athletics.

It was the first perfect game since Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw one against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15, 2012. There were three that season — but none since then until German finished off the first no-hitter in the majors this year.

He joined Don Larsen (1956), David Wells (1998) and David Cone (1999) as Yankees to pitch perfect games. Larsen’s gem came in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

“So exciting,” German, from the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic, said through a translator. “When you think about something very unique in baseball, not many people have an opportunity to pitch a perfect game. To accomplish something like this in my career is something that I’m going to remember forever.”

Coming off a pair of terrible starts, German (5-5) struck out nine of 27 hitters against the A’s, who have the worst record in the MLB at 21-61.

The 30-year-old pitcher had served a 10-game suspension last month after getting ejected from a game in Toronto for using an illegal sticky substance on the mound. He was also banned for 81 games by the MLB earlier in his career over an alleged domestic violence incident.

His only previous complete game as a professional came with Double-A Trenton in April 2017.

Winless in six previous outings against Oakland, German threw 72 of 99 pitches for strikes. He mixed 51 curveballs and 30 fastballs that averaged 148.9km/h (92.5mph) with 17 changeups and one sinker.

He went to three balls on a batter just twice, falling behind Ryan Noda 3-1 in the fourth and Jonah Bride by the same count in the eighth. Noda struck out on consecutive curveballs, and German followed with three straight curves to Bride: one for a called strike, the next resulting in a foul ball and the third in a groundout.

“It was just so fun to watch him do that and go to work. We’ve seen him flirt with outings like that over time,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said, thinking to when Boston’s Alex Verdugo broke up German’s no-hit bid in the eighth in July 2021.

“When he gets rolling like that he’s just so fun to watch at his craft because he’s so good at commanding all of his pitches. His curveball was great tonight, but because his changeup and his fastball were good, too, it made that curveball even more special.”

Domingo German tosses his glove
New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German takes the field before the game on June 28 in Oakland, California [Godofredo A Vasquez/AP Photo]

Seth Brown came the closest to reaching base for the A’s, hitting a sharp grounder in the fifth inning to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who made a diving stop and tossed to German for the out.

With the crowd of 12,479 on its feet for the ninth inning, German quickly finished what he started. He got Aledmys Diaz to ground out before Shea Langeliers flied out to short centre field. When Esteury Ruiz grounded out to third baseman Josh Donaldson to end it, New York’s dugout and bullpen emptied as German’s teammates raced out to the mound to celebrate.

“That last inning was very different — very different. I felt an amount of pressure that I’ve never felt before,” German said. “I’m trying to visualise what I want to execute there. At the same time, I don’t want to miss. So much pressure, but yet so rewarding.

“The key there was not to overthrow,” he added.

A’s leadoff hitter Tony Kemp said German’s curveball set up everything else.

“He threw that curveball in any count that he wanted to,” Kemp said. “It was spinning differently and moving differently. He put his fastball where he wanted to. Changeup as well. He just kind of mixed them. Got a couple of good swings off him, but no results.”

Six days after allowing a career-high 10 runs (eight earned) and four homers over 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Mariners at home, Germán got his 500th career strikeout and was the definition of perfection.

“This has not been an easy week or time for him,” Boone said. “For him to go out there and paint that masterpiece was really just a lot of fun just to be able to watch.”

It was the 13th no-hitter in Yankees history, including Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series. Corey Kluber pitched their previous no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2021.



Source: The Associated Press