Domingo Germán becomes the first Dominican pitcher to throw a perfect game

Since he arrived in the big leagues six years ago, Domingo Germán has been anything but perfect.

Until now.

The New York Yankees right-hander pitched the 24th perfect game in major league history Wednesday night, retiring all of Oakland’s batters in an 11-0 win over the A’s.

It was the first perfect game since Seattle Mariners ace Félix Hernández, threw one against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 15, 2012. There were three that season, but none since Germán’s first no-hitter in the majors this year.

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

“So exciting,” Germán said through a translator. “When you think of something unique in baseball, not many people get the opportunity to pitch a perfect game. To achieve something like that in my career is something I will remember forever.”

After a terrible pair of starts, Germán (5-5) struck out nine of 27 batters against the A’s, who have the worst record in the majors at 21-61.

The 30-year-old pitcher served a 10-game suspension last month. after being ejected from a game in Toronto for using an illegal sticky substance on the mound. His only previous complete game as a pro came with Double-A Trenton in April 2017.

Winless in six previous outings against Oakland, Germán threw 72 of 99 pitches for strikes. He mixed 51 curves and 30 fastballs averaging 92.5 mph with 17 changeups and a 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 with back-to-back curveballs, and Germán followed with three straight curveballs to Bride: one for a called strike, the next resulting in a foul ball, and the third a ground ball.

“It was a lot of fun watching him do that and go to work. We’ve seen him flirt with outings like that over time,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, thinking back to when Boston’s Alex Verdugo broke up Germán’s no-hitter bid in the eighth inning in July 2021.

“When it starts rolling like this, It’s a lot of fun to watch him at his trade because he’s so good at mastering all his pitches. His curveball was great tonight, but because his changeup and fastball were good too, it made that curveball even more special.”

Seth Brown came the closest to reaching base for the A’s, hitting a hard groundout in the fifth inning to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who made a diving stop and pitched to Germán for the out.

With the crowd of 12,479 standing by for ninth, Germán quickly finished what he started. He grounded out Aledmys Diaz before Shea Langeliers flied out to short center field. When Esteury Ruiz grounded out to third baseman Josh Donaldson to end it, New York’s dugout and bullpen emptied as Germán’s teammates ran to the mound to celebrate.

That last entry was very different, very different. I felt an amount of pressure that I had never felt before,” said Germán. “I’m trying to visualize what I want to run in there. At the same time, I don’t want to miss out. So much pressure, but so rewarding.

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

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

“He threw that curveball on any count he wanted,” Kemp said. “It rotated differently and moved differently. He put his fastball where he wanted. Change too. She just mixed them up. I got a couple of good shots from him, but to no avail.”

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

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

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

Germán, who idolized Hernández as a child, is the rare pitcher who wears a zero on the back of his uniform.

Never has that number been more appropriate.

“I am happy for Domingo. He’s had a couple of tough starts and he’s been dragging a little bit,” Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “I always felt like he was anybody, he has a really good chance to do something like this and to have it all come together tonight is just amazing.”

It marked quite a personal change for Germán, who went 18-4 in 2019 with the Yankees, but he was placed on administrative leave late that season while Major League Baseball investigated an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend.

He missed the entire pandemic-shortened 2020 season and playoffs while serving an 81-game suspension, then met face to face with his Yankees teammates and publicly apologized in spring training when he returned to the club in February 2021. .

Giancarlo Stanton homered for the first time in more than two weeks and drove in three runs, and Donaldson added three RBIs against his former team to help the Yankees to their 15th win in 21 games against the A’s since Aug. 31, 2019.

Stanton hit a 422-foot home run on a first-pitch fastball from former Yankees pitcher JP Sears (1-6) in the fourth. The declining slugger added a two-run single off Shintaro Fujinami in the fifth when the Yankees scored six runs and benefited from two A’s errors.

Higashioka had an RBI double, then scored when Anthony Volpe reached on an infield single and Sears threw the ball wildly into foul territory. Volpe took second on error, stole third, then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who led off the inning with a walk and scored, he capped the lift with a two-out RBI single.

But the night belonged to Germán, who was given a loud ovation while the match was taking place. Many fans in Oakland were dressed in Yankees colors or jerseys.

“Unfortunately, two days ago an uncle of mine passed away and yesterday I cried a lot in the clubhouse. So I had him with me throughout the game. I was thinking about him,” Germán said. “This game is a tribute to him. He would have been so happy. He was always someone who really brought joy to our family and it happened to see him this way, from up there.”

Perfect four for the Yankees

The Yankees became the first franchise with four perfect games (the Chicago White Sox have three). … The Coliseum joined Yankee Stadium as the only ballparks to be the site of three perfect games. … Oakland had played 5,063 games since the team last went hitless, by four pitchers from Baltimore in July 1991.

Now the Washington Nationals franchise has the longest active streak in the majors, at 3,812 games (including playoffs) since then.

Cone’s perfect game against the Montreal Expos at Yankee Stadium in July 1999.

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