Seattle, WA – Felix Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Hernandez (11-5) tossed the 23rd perfect game in MLB history, and the third this year, an all-time high for one season. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw one in Seattle on April 21 and Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants shut down the Houston Astros on June 13.
"When Phil (Humber) threw his perfect game here I said 'I have to throw one'," Hernandez said. "I've been working to throw one and here it is."
The 26-year-old Hernandez struck out 12, including five of the final six batters he faced.
"His stuff, it's electric and he had it today," Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said. "He's a very good pitcher, and before the end of his career, he's definitely going to go down in the history books."
It was the second perfect game at Safeco Field this season (Humber) and the third no-hitter. Six Seattle pitchers combined for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8. It was also the fourth no-hitter in Mariners history.
The Rays have been on the losing side of three perfect games and five total no-hitters since joining MLB as an expansion team in 1998.
With one out in the seventh, Brendan Ryan backhanded a hard-hit grounder and fired across the diamond to get Upton to keep the perfect game alive. Third baseman Kyle Seagar made a diving attempt for the ball and couldn't come up with it, but Ryan was in the right spot at the right time to record the crucial out.
Later in the inning Matt Joyce worked a full-count, but Hernandez was able to get Joyce to ground out to Justin Smoak to end the frame.
"(Hernandez) starts to smell it and he starts working a little harder," Rays short stop Elliot Johnson said. "He starts throwing a little harder. The guys got incredible stuff, the guy was right on I don't think there would've been too many lineups that would've gotten too many off of him (today)."
The Mariners scored the lone run of the ball game in the third when Ryan scored on Jesus Montero's sacrifice fly. Ryan singled, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before Montero's sacrifice.
"Today was just one of those special days, it was great to see him finish it off," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. " For me, it's all the more special because it's a 1-0 ballgame, my focus is making sure we win the ballgame, you can't help but notice what he's doing, but you know just how fragile (that lead) is."
Jeremy Hellickson (7-8) absorbed the loss after allowing one run on five hits over seven frames. He struck out one and walked one.
Hernandez has eight career shutouts, including four this season. He became the first pitcher in Mariners' history to have four shutouts in one season ... Hernandez is 4-2 in 11 games against the Rays ... There have been six no- hitters in the majors this season ... Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected by home plate umpire Rob Drake in the seventh after arguing balls and strikes.