Ump Jim Joyce's botched call robs Tigers pitcher of perfection

DETROIT (Reuters) - An umpire's blown call on what would have been the final out of the ball game cost a Detroit Tigers pitcher the chance to record Major League Baseball's third perfect game in less than a month.

After retiring 26 straight batters, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga made a play at first base that should have been the final out of the game, but the umpire ruled that the Cleveland Indians baserunner was safe.

"I just cost that kid a perfect game." first-base umpire Jim Joyce said. "I was convinced he beat the throw until the replay. It was the biggest call of my career."

Galarraga went on to get the next batter out and finish the 3-0 victory with three strikeouts.

Had the blown call gone Galarraga's way, the Venezuelan pitcher would have recorded the third perfect game in a season just over two months old.

It would have also been an unlikely occurrence for the 28-year-old pitcher considering he was not in the rotation a few weeks ago.

Still, Galarraga was sympathetic to the umpire immediately after the game and even offered a hug to the umpire who apologized for the call.

Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game on May 9 and Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies achieved the feat on May 29.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)