Oakland's Dallas Braden is perfect against Tampa Bay
OAKLAND, CALIF. -- Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history on Sunday, shutting down the majors' hottest team and leading the Oakland Athletics to a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Braden threw his arms in the air after Gabe Kapler grounded out to shortstop for the final out, his simmering feud with Yankees star Alex Rodriguez merely a footnote to the first perfect game for Oakland in 42 years.
The closest the Rays got to a hit was Jason Bartlett's liner to third leading off the game. Evan Longoria tried to bunt leading off the fifth, drawing boos from the crowd.
"It's without a doubt a team effort," Braden said. "You got eight guys out there chasing balls and knocking balls down for me. So this is ours, not just mine, this is ours."
Before this gem, Braden was best known for his enraged reaction to Rodriguez walking across the mound back on April 22, when he beat Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
The squabble was still making news leading up this start, and they were going back and forth in recent days. Rodriguez struck a far more conciliatory tone Sunday.
"I've learned in my career that it's always better to be remembered for some of the good things you do on the field, and good for him," Rodriguez said before facing Boston. "He threw a perfect game. And, even better, he beat the Rays."
It was the majors' first perfect game since Mark Buehrle did it for the White Sox against the Rays on July 23, and the second no-hitter this season after Colorado's Ubaldo Jiménez's in Atlanta on April 17. Tampa Bay became the only team aside from the Los Angeles Dodgers to be victimized in two of the perfect games in a row. Tom Browning (1988) and Dennis Martínez (1991) each performed the feat against the Dodgers.
Braden pitched the A's first perfect game since Hall of Famer Jim "Catfish" Hunter's gem on May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins. Only 6,298 were there to witness it. Sunday's crowd at the Coliseum wasn't much better: 12,228.
Braden (4-2) picked up quick outs against a Rays team that lost on the road for just the third time this year. He struck out six in the 109-pitch performance, throwing 77 strikes in his 53rd career start and first complete game.