King Felix Tosses Mariners’ First Perfect Game

SEATTLE (AP) — King Felix now has a crowning achievement.

Felix Hernandez pitched the Seattle Mariners’ first perfect game and the 23rd in baseball history, overpowering the Tampa Bay Rays in a brilliant 1-0 victory Wednesday.

The Mariners’ ace and former AL Cy Young Award winner has long talked of his desire to achieve pitching perfection. He finally accomplished it against the Rays, striking out the side twice and finishing with 12 strikeouts.

It was the third perfect game in baseball this season, joining gems by Chicago’s Philip Humber against the Mariners in April and San Francisco’s Matt Cain against Houston in June.

“I don’t have any words to explain this,” Hernandez said to the crowd, speaking on the field after the final out. “I’ve been working so hard to throw one and today is for you guys.”

Desmond Jennings pinch hit for Jose Lobaton to open the ninth. Hernandez got ahead 1-2 before Jennings fouled off two straight and Hernandez fanned him on a 92 mph fastball down in the zone. Jeff Keppinger batted for Elliot Johnson and grounded out to shortstop on a 1-2 pitch.

With one out to go, Sean Rodriguez got ahead of Hernandez 2-0. Hernandez came back with two straight breaking balls for strikes and ended perfection with a called third strike.

Hernandez threw his arms up to the sky and was mobbed by his teammates at the pitcher’s mound. He embraced catcher John Jaso for a few seconds and then shared hugs with the rest of his teammates.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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