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IMPERFECT CALL.....TIGERS 3, Cleveland 0, W 6/2/10
Posted on: 06-02-2010

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    Armando Galarraga appeared to
have pitched the first perfect game
in Tiger history Wednesday night,
but 1Base umpire Jim Joyce blew the call on what should have been the final out
and signaled safe with Cleveland's Jason Donald still a full stride shy of the bag.
    Donald then moved up two bases on a pair of "defensive indifference" rulings
as Galarraga concentrated to get the next batter Trevor Crowe on a groundout
to third and Detroit beat the Indians 3-0.
    Galarraga had set down the first 26 Tribesmen in fast fashion, getting
three strikeouts, 13 groundouts, eight flyouts and two lineouts. His slider's
movement was worthy of "Dancing With The Stars."
    Donald then grounded wide of 1Base, Miguel Cabrera went far to his right
to glove the ball and threw to Galarraga covering the base. Joyce signaled
"safe" emphatically only after Donald was two steps beyond 1Base.
    It wasn't a bang-bang situation, Galarraga didn't juggle the catch and
Galarraga's foot was in tight contact with the inside of the base. Other
than a strikeout, it would have been the perfect way to and a perfect game
with the pitcher covering the bag to take the throw for the 27th out.
    Tiger MGR Jim Leyland bolted from the dugout for clarification and Joyce
simply said Donald had beat the throw to the bag, something the naked eye
could see was false without requiring replay to prove the point. Once he'd
viewed a replay after the game, a contrite Joyce openly admitted he'd missed
the critical call and later apologized to both Galarraga and Leyland after
requesting to meet with Galarraga. (Tiger Prez Dave Dombrowski escorted
Galarraga to the umpire's room for the meeting.)  
    Galarraga's reaction was to smile in disbelief, but the rest of the Tigers
were incensed. Cabrera jawed with Joyce all through Crowe's at-bat. When
the game ended, several Tigers (most notably Gerald Laird, who did not play
in the game), had to be separated from Joyce.
    "Kill The Umpire" were the kindest words spoken in the on-field aftermath.
    Galarraga had to settle for the first shutout and complete game of his MLB
    Galarraga (W, 2-1) needed only 88 pitches/67 strikes for a game that took
only 1:44 to play.
    Once the anger subsided, Tiger players gave Galarraga a beer shower in
the clubhouse and insisted he'd thrown the first 28-out perfect game in baseball
    An MLB record two perfect games by Oakland's Dallas Braden and Philadelphia's
Roy Halladay have already been pitched this year. Only 20 have been tossed in
big league history.
    Until the B-8th, not only was Galarraga perfect, but he had no room for error.
Detroit had just a 1-0 lead on Miguel Cabrera's T-2nd leadoff homerun (#15), deposited
into the LField seats.
    Also pitching an excellent game was Cleveland's Fausto Carmona (L, 4-4). Detroit
tacked on two more runs in the B-8th off Carmona on three straight 2-out singles by
Austin Jackson, Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez, with Maggs getting an RBI on a play
where two runs scored, the second on a throwing error by Indians RFielder Shin-Soo Choo.
    Carmona allowed 9-H, five of those in the last two innings. He threw 96 pitches/66
strikes and, like Galarraga, struck-out three and didn't walk anybody.
    The closest Galarraga came to losing his perfecto bid before the umpire's error were
on a pair of plays 4-INN apart. Cleveland's Russell Branyan banked a ball off of Galarraga
which Tiger 3Bman Brandon Inge grabbed on the carom and threw to first for the last out
of the T-5th. Then in the T-9th, first Indians batter Mark Grudzielanek lofted a deep flyball
to the bullpen side of CField for what looked like a leadoff double until speedy Jackson
caught up with the ball to make an over the shoulder catch.    
    Jackson was 3-for-4 and Cabrera 2-for-4 at the plate.

    CLE     0-1-1, 1-LOB     (L) Carmona, 4-4
    DET     3-9-0, 4-LOB     (W) Galarraga, 2-1            


1B UMPIRE JIM JOYCE:   "“I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought [Donald]  beat
the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay...It was the biggest
call of my career...I don’t blame them a bit or anything that was said. I would’ve said it
myself if I had been Galarraga. I would’ve been the first person in my face, and he never
said a word to me."

TIGERS SP ARMANDO GALARRAGA:   "I feel sad. I just watched the replay 20 times and
there's no way you can call him safe...He needs to do a better job in that situation. It
wasn't even close.... I give [Joyce] a lot of credit for coming in and saying, 'Hey, I need
to talk to you to say I'm sorry.' That doesn't happen. You don't see an umpire after the
game come out and say, 'Hey, let me tell you I'm sorry.' He apologized to me and he felt
really bad. He didn't even shower. He was in the same clothes. He gave me a couple hugs
...I know nobody's perfect. What are you going to do? I was mad in the moment because
I was nervous. I didn't know what to do...I was in shock."

TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "It was just an unbelievable performance [by Galarraga]...
We all make mistakes...[Joyce] probably got it wrong...With the naked eye, I couldn't
tell...That's the way it goes...Emotions were running high for everybody and I think that's
why the guys were emotional after the game. I wish we wouldn't have been, but we were.
But I think it's understandable in that case. That's a pretty sacred thing, something like

TIGERS 3B BRANDON INGE:   ""I went to the ground. I literally went to the ground. I had my
hands up in the air [to celebrate] and then I went to the ground...Unbelievable."

TIGERS SS RAMON SANTIAGO:   "I know I played in a perfect game. In my mind, on June 2,
Armando Galarraga threw a no-hitter. I'm going to get a ball signed by him."

INDIANS SS JASON DONALD:   "I didn't know if I beat the throw or not. But given the
circumstances, I thought for sure I'd be called out."


    Joyce has been a full-time MLB umpire since 1989.
    The blown call sparked an instant national debate on MLB Network, ESPN, etc on
expanding the use of MLB instant replay beyond just the recently adopted homerun calls.  
    The last Tiger 1-hitter was by Mike Maroth on 7/16/2004 vs the New York Yankees.
    The announced attendance was 17,738.
    Like Jackson in April, Tigers OFielder Brennan Boesch was named the AL Rookie-of-the-Month
for May. Boesch was 1-for-3 Wednesday on a B-7th INF-1B.
    The Thursday matinee rubber game of the series has Tigers RHP Rick Porcello (4-5, 5.27)
and Indians LHP David Huff (2-6, 5.54) listed as probable pitchers. The T-1st could be interesting
with Joyce scheduled as HP umpire and Laird scheduled to catch for Detroit.  


    Lehigh Valley topped Toledo 11-6 Wednesday mid-day to end the Mud Hens'
eight game home winning streak.
    Former Tiger Alfredo Figaro (L, 4-3) was knocked out of the game in the T-2nd,
allowing 8-R/8-ER on 8-H with 2-K.  
    Neil Sellers (#1) and John Mayberry Jr. (#9) both homered for the IronPigs.
    Ex-Tiger Scott Sizemore went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games,
the longest by any Mud Hen this season.
    It was a rare Toledo "School Days" loss, dipping the all-time Hens record to 23-4
for the 10:30am 5th/3rd Field starts. The sellout crowd was 9,333.



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