Pierzynski finally checks off perfecto from list
On bench for Buehrle's perfect game, backstop catches Humber's
SEATTLE -- At approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday, A.J. Pierzynski was thinking one thing.
"Get the ball and get it to first as fast as possible, because if I screw this up, I'm going to be a goat forever," the eighth-year Chicago catcher said.
Pierzynski was able to scoop up the slider that he had blocked and threw to first for the final out of Philip Humber's perfect game, a 4-0 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
During his time with the White Sox, Pierzynski has seen some great moments from behind the plate. The White Sox catcher won a World Series in 2005, and he caught Mark Buehrle's no-hitter April 18, 2007.
But when Buehrle threw a perfect game July 23, 2009, it was Ramon Castro who was catching. Pierzynski was relegated to cheer duty from the bench. So when he was finally able to be a part of a perfect game, no one -- aside from Humber himself, perhaps -- was more excited than Pierzynski.
"I was shaking, because you don't get the opportunity to be in that situation very often with the way Phil was pitching, what it would mean to him and his family and his career," Pierzynski said. "It's just amazing, and I'm still in shock and just so happy for Phil, and just kind of speechless right now."
Pierzynski said the excitement started to set in during the seventh or eighth inning, and then the real emotions kicked in during the ninth. First Michael Saunders struck out, and then John Jaso hit a fly ball to right. And that brought Brendan Ryan to the plate, representing out No. 27.
"That's when you're just ... as nervous as you can be as a player," Pierzynski said. "I was more nervous than I was in the World Series, because there's no buildup for this. It just happens. And you want it so bad for the guy on the mound and you want him to have that achievement forever and be remembered for it forever, and it's a special thing for Phil."
As for that Buehrle perfect game? Well, Pierzynski won't be able to go back in time and catch it, but now he's landed himself Humber's perfecto, and just in case he forgets, he can look down at his texts.
There reads a message from Buehrle: "You got your perfect game."
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.