White Sox ace Buehrle throws perfect game
Mark Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game in major league history, and Chicago White Sox center fielder DeWayne Wise got the assist.
Just into the game as a defensive replacement, Wise robbed Gabe Kapler of a leadoff home run in the ninth inning and Buehrle coolly closed out a 5-0 victory Thursday over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Wise took over in center field from Scott Podsednik, who shifted to left. With the count 2-2, Kapler hit a drive to deep left-center. Wise sprinted, jumped and got his glove about a foot above the 8-foot fence to rob Kapler of a home run.
The ball almost came out when Wise caromed off the fence, stumbled, fell to the ground and rolled. But he steadied it with his chest and bare left hand and bounced right up, proudly displaying the ball for the crowd.
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"I was hoping it was staying in there, give him enough room to catch it. I know the guys were doing everything they could to save the no-hitter, the perfect game, whatever it might be," Buehrle said.
Wise knew the stakes.
"I was with the Braves in '04 and I was there when Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks pitched a perfect game. So I've been on both sides of it," he said. "It was probably the best catch I've ever made because of the circumstances.
"It was kind of crazy, man, because when I jumped, the ball hit my glove at the same time I was hitting the wall. So I didn't realize I had caught it until I fell down and the ball was coming out of my glove, so I reached out and grabbed it."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was happy he made the switch.
"I guess that's our job," he said.
Michel Hernandez then struck out, and with fans chanting Buehrle's name, Jason Bartlett grounded to shortstop. Buehrle put both hands on his head and was mobbed by teammates between the mound and first base.