Sports

Flashback #86: Mark Buehrle’s Perfect Game (2009)

Mark Buehrle celebrates pitching a perfect game with his teammates against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Mark Buehrle celebrates pitching a perfect game with his teammates against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

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As of 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary on January 3rd, the station has begun to reveal (in chronological order) the Top 100 Chicago Sports Stories that have occurred since they first went on the air 20 years ago. Once all 100 of these “flashbacks” have been revealed, fans will be able to vote for which stories they believe are the most significant in the 20 year history of The Score. To see all of the Flashbacks that The Score has posted so far, please visit 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary page.

July 23, 2009 – Mark Buehrle’s Perfect Game

Once before, Mark Buehrle was almost perfect. One July 23, 2009, he was.

For just the 18th time in the history of Major League Baseball, Buerhle tossed a perfect game — sitting down all 27 batters in order as the White Sox beat the Rays at U.S. Cellular Field.

This was no ordinary perfect game, though, as Buehrle had help from a few unlikely heroes in Dwayne Wise and Ramon Castro.

Castro was filling in for starting catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who had an off day. The perfect game was the first time Buehrle and Castro had ever worked together.

Wise, however, had a much different role in Buehrle’s pursuit of perfection. He was brought in the game as a defensive replacement at center field to lead off the ninth inning. At that point, the left-hander was just three outs away from perfection.

Leading off for the Rays was Gabe Kapler, who worked Buehrle to a 2-2 count. What happened next, no one could have predicted.

When Kapler drove the next to pitch to deep left-center field, Wise took off immediately, taking a perfect angle to the ball. Then, Wise leaped off the wall to the pull the ball back into play before it sailed over the wall for a home run. As he fell to the ground, the ball slipped out of Wise’s glove, but the veteran centerfielder caught the ball with his bare hand for the out, preserving Buerhle’s perfect game.

After the catch, Buehrle looked and pointed at Wise. The pitcher got two more quick outs to become just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to have both a perfect game and a no-hitter.

The Score will continue to release a new Flashback each weekday until they reach 100. Check back tomorrow for a new one, or check out all of the previous Flashbacks: 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary »