Domingo Germán completed the 24th perfect game in MLB history to help the Yankees solidify the win against the Oakland A’s 11-0 on Wednesday night.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum draped with signs of selling the team and insults directed at the Oakland Athletics’ owner, Josh Fishner, over his refusal to build a winning program in Oakland.
The attendance reached approximately 12,000, many of whom were Yankees fans hoping to claim a win against the league’s worst team. Fans of both teams had little thought of history being made before the conclusion of the A’s final season in Oakland. Believe it or not, this would be the third perfect game thrown in the Athletics’ stadium.
Germán is no stranger to the struggle. In his last start against the Seattle Mariners, he gave up 10 runs. Fans booed him off the mound. He also was suspended in June against Toronto for a sticky substance violation.
It was a quiet first inning, with the Yankees going down in order and Germán sitting the A’s down with two strikeouts. The pitcher’s duel continued between Germán and A’s pitcher, JP Sears, until the fourth inning. Germán collected two more strikeouts in the top half, and the Yankee offense broke out in the bottom of the inning when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton blasted a solo shot to left center, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
“Throughout the whole game I just wanted to keep focus and keep balance,” Germán said via translator.
Breaking It Open
While Germán held it down, the Bronx Bombers continued the offensive onslaught by putting up six runs in fifth inning. Left fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa took a lead-off walk. Catcher Kyle Higashioka doubled to left field, scoring Kiner-Falefa. Shortstop Anthony Volpe in the nine-hole laid down a bunt on the first pitch, and an errant throw from Sears to first base brought in Higashioka and put Volpe on second. Volpe then added to his stolen base total by taking third base.
A single from second baseman DJ LaMahieu scored Volpe. DH Gleyber Torres walked, and a Ryan Noda fielding error on Anthony Rizzo’s grounder loaded the bases. Stanton’s hot bat scored LaMahieu and Torres with a single to left. After Harrison Bader and Josh Donaldson struck out, Kiner-Falefa returned to the plate and brought in Rizzo for the final run of the inning.
Germán entered the bottom of the fifth with a seven run lead to work with. A single rocket off of Seth Brown’s bat toward first base looked like it may end the perfect game, but Rizzo was able to come up with the diving save to his left, flipping the ball to Germán covering first. The perfect game was preserved after he struck out the third batter of the frame.
Pressure in the Late Innings
The Yankees went up 8-0 in the seventh after a sac fly brought in pinch runner Oswaldo Cabrera, leaving nine more outs for Germán to record.
Pitchers that have thrown a perfect game will tell you that the final three outs can be the most daunting while chasing history.
“That last inning was very different,” said Germán. “Very different. You know, I felt an amount of pressure that I’ve never felt before.”
Germán reached a 3-0 count twice during the game. Once in the fourth against Noda, and again during crunch time in the eighth against Jonah Bride.
After Perez popped out and Brown grounded out, a loose ball from the dugout paused play. Many fans could be heard booing as the pause altered Germán’s rhythm and he fell behind in the count, 2-0.
He threw a curve to Bride for a called strike one then a changeup that missed for a ball. With the pressure still mounting, Germán threw three more curveballs — one for a strike, one fouled off and the third grounded to Donaldson to retire the side. The perfect game was still in tact with three outs to go.
Finishing It Off
The Yanks’ offense continued bringing in runs to make it a 11-0 runaway, but offense was no longer the focus of the game.
Diaz, Langeliers and Ruiz stepped up to the plate and went down in order on a groundout, flyout and another groundout to Donaldson. Domingo Germán became the fourth Yankee in history to pitch a perfect game.
“To accomplish something like this in my career is something that I’m going to remember forever, to be part of history. So exciting,” Germán said.
The last perfect game in MLB was thrown by Seattle Mariner Félix Hernández in 2012. Mike Mussina was the last Yankee to nearly pitch a perfect game at Fenway Park in 2001, but was foiled by a Carl Everett pinch hit single with two outs in the ninth.
All Yankee fans can reflect on the excitement of history being made, but for Germán this game means so much more. He paid tribute to his uncle afterwards, who passed away two days prior.
“I cried a lot yesterday, in the clubhouse, so I had him with me throughout the whole game,” he said.
The perfect game may signal a turnaround performance not only for Germán, who has struggled throughout the season, but also many other slumping Yankees like Josh Donaldson, who requested a trade from the team the day before.
Only time will tell, as the Yankees look to close out the series against the A’s today, with a tough second half of the season looming ahead.