SEATTLE - Phil Humber, who underwent Tommy John surgery seven years ago, threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Mariners Saturday.
It was baseball’s 21st perfect game and first since Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay threw one against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. It was the third in White Sox history, joining Mark Buehrle’s against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, and Charles Robertson’s against Detroit on April 30, 1922.
“This is awesome,’’ Humber said. “I’m so thankful.’’
With the White Sox lined up on the top step of the dugout, Humber fell behind, 3-and-0, to Michael Saunders leading off the ninth. But he rebounded to strike him out. John Jaso then flied out before Brendan Ryan, another pinch hitter, struck out to end the game.
Ryan tried to check his swing and missed at a full-count pitch, but the ball got away from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Ryan lingered outside the batter’s box for a moment, unsure of umpire Brian Runge’s call, and Pierzynski fired to first to complete the play.
“I don’t know that I dominated them,’’ Humber said. “Obviously the ball was hit at people. I’m thankful for that. It was a well-pitched game. Definitely something I’ll never forget.’’
The righthander struck out nine and threw just 96 pitches in his first career complete game.
It was quite a contrast to his first start of the season, when he went 5 1/3 innings and threw 115 pitches in a no-decision against Baltimore.
Humber was traded from the Mets to the Twins in the deal for Johan Santana, then bounced around for a couple of seasons and was acquired by the White Sox on waivers from Oakland in January 2011. He was 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 163 innings last season.
Justin Smoak struck out swinging to start the eighth. Kyle Seager lofted a fly to left that looked for a moment like it had a chance to land, but was caught by Dayan Viciedo. Jesus Montero followed with an easy ground ball to second base, sending the perfect game to the ninth.
Paul Konerko hit his second homer of the season and No. 398 of his career in the second.