During bids for no-hitters and perfect games, traditional baseball superstition requires that the pitcher who throws the gem not be disturbed. Colleagues and coaches are ashamed.
But after Domingo German completed a perfect seventh inning on Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum, Yankees coach Matt Blake sat next to him and chatted.
No matter breaking tradition. German put the next six batters in the Athletics’ order to throw the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history in an 11–0 win.
“Very exciting,” Germain said in Spanish through an interpreter during a post-match on-field interview. “When you think of something very unique in baseball. Not many people have the opportunity to pitch a perfect game and accomplish something like that.”
After a relative streak of them — two in 2010 and three in 2012 — it’s been nearly 11 years since Seattle Mariners star Felix Hernandez threw the latest perfect game.
Germain, who entered the game with a 5.10 ERA this season, stayed clean even after the long delay in the dugout as his team scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning; when an Oakland pitcher left with an injury in the seventh; And when the Yankees kicked in more runs in the ninth inning. He kept his pace with two outs in the bottom of the eighth when he smashed a ball from Oakland, briefly stopping the game with Jonah Pride.
A modest crowd of 12,479 in Oakland, California, rose to its feet in Germain came out to start the ninth inning and chanted “Let’s go, Yankees” as he faced the first batter of the inning.
Germain completed the perfect match by getting Oakland speedster Esteori Ruiz to join a club with Hernandez, a player he dubbed his childhood “idol”.
“This last half was completely different,” said Germain. “I felt an amount of pressure that I had never felt before.”
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s very rewarding,” he added.
Germain dedicated the performance to his uncle, who had died two days earlier and who was “always someone who brings so much joy to our family”.
He said, “I cried a lot yesterday.” “He was with me the whole game.”
Then, teammates doused Germain with a cooler during his TV interview, and he posed for pictures with the game ball and his catcher, Kyle Higashioka, and then the rest of his teammates.
It was the fourth perfect game in Yankees history, after Don Larsen’s play in the 1956 World Series, David Wills in 1998 and David Coons in 1999. It was also the second Yankees no-hitter in the past three seasons, after a 2021 performance by Corey. Clubber vs. Texas Rangers. Higashioka was behind the plate in both games.
Germain has entered play by throwing a home ball about 40 percent of the time this season, even more than a fastball, and Higashioka said it was a key pitch Wednesday as Germain used it to score 20 out of 27.
“He was amazing tonight and he deserves all the credit,” said Higashioka.
The game’s masterpiece was the high point, by far, of an uneven season for Germain. He had been suspended for 10 matches in mid-May for violating league rules against using foreign materials on the ball. He’s put together solid games, like when he allowed only one run over 8 innings against Cleveland last month. But his previous starts were far from that show, yielding 15 earned passes over 5 innings against Boston and Seattle.
An uneven season is nothing new for Germain. Throughout his six years in the majors, he’s had periods of success and failure, dealing with multiple injuries and an 81-game suspension that included part of the 2019 season and all of 2020 due to violations of MLB’s domestic violence policy.
But for one night in Auckland keep it all together. He said he thought about perfection throughout Wednesday’s game. In the end, no one could touch him.