During betting on no-hitters and perfect games, conventional baseball superstition demands that the pitcher throwing the jewel be left unmolested. Teammates and coaches freak out.
But after Domingo Germán pitched a perfect seventh inning Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum, Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake sat down next to him and chatted.
The break with tradition did not matter. Germán moved the next six batters in the A’s order to pitch the 24th perfect game in major league history in an 11-0 victory.
“Very exciting,” Germán said in Spanish through an interpreter during an on-field interview after the game. “When you think of something very unique in baseball. Not many people get the opportunity to throw a perfect game and achieve something like this.”
After a relative string of them, two in 2010 and three in 2012, it had been nearly 11 years since Seattle Mariners star Félix Hernández pitched Major League Baseball’s most recent perfect game.
Germán, who came into the game with a 5.10 ERA this season, remained flawless even after lengthy delays in the dugout as his team scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning; when the Oakland pitcher went down injured in the seventh; and when the Yankees added more runs in the ninth. And he kept up his pace with two outs in the bottom of the eighth when a pitch escaped the Oakland bullpen and briefly halted his matchup with Jonah Bride.
The modest crowd of 12,479 in Oakland, California, rose to their feet as Germán came out to start the ninth inning and chanted “Come on, Yankees” as he faced the leadoff batter of the inning.
Germán completed the perfect game by inducing a groundout from Esteury Ruiz, Oakland’s speedy outfielder, to join a club with Hernández, a player he called his childhood “idol”.
“That last inning was very different,” Germán said. “I felt an amount of pressure that I had never felt before.”
He continued: “So much pressure but still so rewarding.”
Germán dedicated the performance to an uncle of his who died two days ago who was “always someone who really brought a lot of joy to our family.”
“I cried a lot yesterday,” she said. “I had him with me throughout the game.”
Teammates later sprayed Germán with a cooler during his television interview, and he posed for photos with the game ball and its catcher, Kyle Higashioka, and later with the rest of his teammates.
It was the fourth perfect game in Yankee history, following Don Larsen’s in the 1956 World Series, David Wells’s in 1998, and David Cone’s in 1999. It was also the Yankees’ second no-hitter in the past three seasons, following Corey’s performance in 2021. Kluber against the Texas Rangers. Higashioka was behind the plate in both games.
Germán entered the game throwing his curveball about 40 percent of the time this season, even more than his fastball, and Higashioka said it was a key pitch Wednesday as Germán used it to record 20 of his 27 putouts.
“He was fantastic tonight and he deserves all the credit,” Higashioka said.
The masterpiece of a game was the highest point, by far, in an uneven season for Germán. He had been suspended for 10 games in mid-May for violating league rules against the use of foreign substances on the ball. He’s gotten solid outings, like when he allowed just one run in 8 ⅓ innings against Cleveland last month. But his last two starts were a far cry from that performance, driving in 15 earned runs in 5 ⅓ innings against Boston and Seattle.
The uneven season is nothing new for Germán. Throughout his six-plus years in the majors, he has had periods of hit and miss, dealt with multiple injuries and served an 81-game suspension spanning part of the 2019 season and all of 2020 for violence policy violations. MLB domestic.
But for one night in Oakland, it held everything together. He said that she had thought about perfection throughout Wednesday’s game. And, in the end, no one could touch it.