Historically, the perfect game has been a rare feat in the MLB. Beginning with Lee Richmond’s spotless nine innings for the Worcester Ruby Legs in 1880, a perfect game is thrown at the rate of not even once every five years. But 2012 has been an altogether atypical year for major-league pitchers, and today Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez threw the third perfect game of the season — though only the 23rd of all time, and only the 21st in the modern era — against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field. It was also the first perfect game in Mariners history.
Striking out five of the Rays’ last six batters, the 23-year-old Hernandez caught shortstop Sean Rodriguez on a called third strike for the game’s final out. Hernandez struck out 12 batters total out of the 27 he faced, and his marks the first time in history that a season has seen three perfect games: the White Sox’s Phillip Humber did it on April 21 against the Mariners, while San Francisco Giant Matt Cain retired each Astro he faced on June 13.
While no one’s ever said you need to be a Cy Young candidate to throw a perfect game, it isn’t exactly surprising that Hernandez is the latest pitcher to accomplish the feat in the majors. Today’s win marks him with a record of 11-5 to go along with a 2.60 ERA and 174 strikeouts.
Watch highlights of today’s Hernandez performance below.