Domingo German Gets All A’s, A Perfect Score

AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez

Domingo German wanted to bounce back from two brutal starts. Boy, did he ever!

German pitched the 4th perfect game in Yankee history and the 24th (22nd in in the modern era) in Major League history as the Yankees scored a memorable 11-0 win against the Oakland A’s at Ring Central (Oakland) Coliseum last night before a crowd of 12,479.

It was the first no hitter in the big leagues this season and the third perfect game in the history of the Oakland Coliseum.

German, who was pitching with a heavy heart due to the death of his uncle recently, literally had unhittable stuff, led by impeccable command of his curveball that he used to get 20 of his 27 outs. Very effective tonight, especially for first pitch strikes there also to put away guys with two strikes,” German said through an interpreter after the game. “Everything was working well tonight. Everything worked really nicely, perfectly.”

It was the first perfect game pitched by a Yankee on the road and the first Yankees’ perfect game since David Cone on July 18, 1999. It was also the first perfect game in the major leagues since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez in 2012, who German admired as a kid. “I’ve said it before, growing up, he was my idol. I really looked up to the way he pitched. To be on that list following him means a lot,” German said.

German was as efficient as he was brilliant as he tossed 99 pitches (72 for strikes) in the perfecto, which just so happened to be the first complete game and first complete game shutout of his career. The 30-year old threw three pitches or fewer to 12 of the 27 batters that he faced, while striking out nine.

With the pressure building as he approached the ninth, German, who had given up 17 runs, 15 earned in his last 5 1/3 innings pitched, retired Aledmys Diaz on a ground out to short for the first out. Shea Langeliers saw one pitch and flied out to Harrison Bader in center as the drama reached an apex with the 26th consecutive out.

It was nearly 22 years since Mike Mussina got to within an out of a perfect game in September, 2001 at Fenway Park. When asked about taking the ninth with a chance at history, German said through an interpreter when he joined the YES Network after the game, “I tried to visualize what I wanted to execute there, at the same time I don’t want to miss. So much pressure there but so rewarding.”

On the first pitch of the final at bat, Esteury Ruiz hit a grounder to third. Josh Donaldson calmly fielded it and threw to first. When Anthony Rizzo caught it for the final out, German joined Cone, David Wells and Don Larsen in the Yankee record books.

Yankee Manager Aaron Boone was enjoying his view from the dugout as German was mowing down the hitters. “When he gets rolling like that, he’s just so fun to watch at his craft. He’s so good at commanding all his pitches, his curveball was great tonight,” Boone said.

Boone, whose father Bob caught Mike Witt’s perfect game for the Angels in 1984, had some anxiety when it was down to one more out for history.

Considered moving Izzy (leftfielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa) in with two outs there, just take away the short hit ot something,” Boone said. “That’s the only thing I said. I said to Luis [Rojas] I’m like, should we move Izzy in. Like, no. Alright. I was fairly calm but I didn’t want to do much of anything.”

The Yankee right hander was so dominant that he went to a three ball count only twice in the game. The first time was the fourth inning when he was 3-1 on A’s first baseman Ryan Noda but he came back to strike him out with a curveball.

The second time featured a little more drama because it was in the eighth. With two out and A’s rookie Jonah Bride at the plate, German once again fell behind 3-1 but like the fourth inning, he battled back to retire the rookie on a ground out to third.

Of course, in any perfect game, there is usually a key defensive play and that came in the fifth. With one out, Rizzo made a diving back hand stop of Seth Brown’s hard grounder towards the first base line and flipped to German for the out.

There was a scare with two out in the sixth, when Ruiz lined a 1-1 pitch down the left field line but it went foul and German struck him out with that spectacular curveball.

Kyle Higashioka had the pleasure of catching German and becoming the fourth Yankee to catch a perfect game. “You just don’t want to mess it up,” Higashioka said to the YES Network after the game. “He was fantastic tonight, he deserves all the credit.”

What got lost in the shuffle was that the Yankees’ bats finally woke up against a team that does not feature good pitching.

Former Yankee J.P. Sears retired 11 of the first 12 hitters to face him but with two out in the fourth, Giancarlo Stanton, who started in right field, homered on the first pitch from the left hander to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. It was

Stanton’s 7th homerun of the season and his third since coming off the IL.

The Yankees padded their lead in the fifth with as satisfying an inning as they’ve had in a long while. 11 men came to the plate in an inning that lasted 24 minutes as the Yankees plated six runs (without the benefit of a home run) on five hits to take a 7-0 lead.

Kiner-Falefa led off with a walk against Sears after being down in the count 0-2. With IKF going from first, Kyle Higashioka lined a run scoring double down the left field line for a 2-0 lead.

Anthony Volpe was the next batter and he laid down a beautiful bunt between the pitcher’s mound and first base. Sears tried to flip it but it got past the first baseman, Ryan Noda, as Higashioka scored the third run and Volpe took second. After Volpe stole third, the A’s played the infield in and D.J. LeMahieu cashed in the opportunity with a hard RBI single to left to go up 4-0.

The Yankees would get three more in the inning thanks to an error by Noda that loaded the bases, a two run single by Stanton and an RBI single by Kiner-Falefa to cap the scoring as the Yankees took a 7-0 lead.

The Yankees added a run in the seventh and three more in the ninth but the night belonged to German.

When Rizzo caught the final out, it was about ten minutes after midnight, eastern time, but the carriage never turned back into a pumpkin on a magical night for Domingo German, who realized the magnitude of his achievement.

When you think about the history of baseball and how many pitchers right and how many have done it. To be part of history now, it’s exciting,” he said after a night he and his teammates will never forget.


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