Final

Series: Game 4 of 4

Chi White Sox won 3-1

Game 1: Monday, July 20
Tampa Bay3Final
Chi White Sox4
Game 2: Tuesday, July 21
Tampa Bay3Final
Chi White Sox2
Game 3: Wednesday, July 22
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Chi White Sox4
Game 4: Thursday, July 23
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Chi White Sox5

Rays 0

(52-44, 22-29 away)

White Sox 5

(50-45, 27-23 home)

    2:05 PM ET, July 23, 2009

    U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 000000000 0 0 0
    CWS 04001000 - 5 6 0

    W: M. Buehrle (11-3)

    L: S. Kazmir (4-6)

    Buehrle completes perfect game to throttle Rays

    Associated Press

    CHICAGO -- The 105th pitch of Mark Buehrle's day broke in toward Gabe Kapler, who turned on it and connected. Buehrle looked up and knew -- his perfect game was in jeopardy.

    Just in as a defensive replacement, Chicago White Sox center fielder DeWayne Wise sprinted toward the fence in left-center, a dozen strides. What happened next would be either a moment of baseball magic or the ninth-inning end of Buehrle's bid for perfection against the Tampa Bay Rays.

    Perfect Afternoon

    Lefty Mark Buehrle completed the 17th perfect game all-time in the regular season.
    All-time no-hitters

    Pitch Type
    Fastball Change Slider
    Outs 12 12 3
    Strikeouts 3 3 0
    Strike % 69 68 78
    Avg. Speed 86 79 79

    On the day Buehrle tossed a perfect game against the Rays, Scout John Kazanas reflected on the first time he saw the lefty pitch, writes Jerry Crasnick. Story

    Podcast: Destrade on Buehrle

    Wise jumped and extended his right arm above the top of the 8-foot wall. The ball landed in his glove's webbing but then popped out for a split second as he was caroming off the wall and stumbling on the warning track. Wise grabbed it with his bare left hand, fell to the ground and rolled. He bounced up, proudly displaying the ball for the crowd.

    Magic. A home run turned into an out.

    His biggest threat behind him, Buehrle coolly closed out the 17th perfect game all-time in the regular season, a 5-0 victory Thursday.

    "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," said Buehrle, who has now thrown two no-hitters in his career.

    More from ESPNChicago.com

    On the scene for the perfect game:
    Jon Greenberg:
    Just like you, but perfect
    Nick Friedell's blog:
    Being there was special
    In their words
    Bruce Levine's blog:
    First fan checks in
    Podcast:
    Postgame news conference
    ZOOM gallery:
    Perfection in pictures

    Wise knew the stakes.

    "I was with the Braves in '04 and I was there when Arizona's Randy Johnson 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 to Wise, who came in at center while Scott Podsednik shifted to left and Carlos Quentin was pulled out.

    "I guess that's our job," Guillen said.

    Buehrle fell behind 3-1 in the count to Michel Hernandez, the second batter in the ninth, who took a called strike and then swung and missed at strike three.

    With fans chanting Buehrle's name, Jason Bartlett got ahead 2-1, then grounded to shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who threw to first baseman Josh Fields. Buehrle put both hands on his head and was mobbed by teammates between the mound and first base.

    "Never thought I'd throw a no-hitter, never thought I'd throw a perfect game, never thought I'd hit a home run," said Buehrle, who has done all three. "Never say never in this game because crazy stuff can happen."

    The pitcher received a congratulatory telephone call from President Barack Obama -- a White Sox fan -- following the 16th perfect game since the modern era began in 1900 and the first since Johnson's on May 18, 2004.

    "We joked around, a 30-second phone call, and I'm like 'What? That's all he's got for me?" Buehrle said.

    Fast Facts

    • Mark Buehrle threw the 17th perfect game in the regular season, throwing 116 pitches and striking out six. He is the 28th pitcher with multiple no-hitters.

    • Buehrle became the sixth pitcher to have thrown at least two career no-hitters, including a perfect game. Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, Addie Joss and Cy Young are the other five.

    • Buehrle improved to 15-1 in his last 21 home starts since the 2008 All-Star break.

    • It was Chicago's 17th all-time no-hitter, ranking third behind the Dodgers (20) and Red Sox (18).

    • Josh Fields hit his second career grand slam in the second inning.

    • Scott Kazmir is winless in his last seven starts for the Rays.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    Obama, a lefty like Buehrle, wore a White Sox jacket when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at last week's All-Star game in St. Louis.

    "I told him how surprised I was that he actually did it," Buehrle said. "He said, 'Congratulations, and it's an honor. A lot of people are going to remember this forever."

    Obama had spoken with Buehrle -- a St. Charles, Mo., native -- in the AL clubhouse last week.

    "As a fan, it's extraordinary," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quoted Obama as saying. "When you're a White Sox fan and know the guy who did it, it makes it even more fun."

    Backed by Fields' second-inning grand slam, Buehrle (11-3) threw 76 of 116 pitches for strikes and fanned six in his second no-hitter, helping Chicago move within a percentage point of AL Central-leading Detroit.

    Kapler understood his role.

    "That moment was magical for both Wise and Buehrle," Kapler said, "and most guys earn those moments."

    In a 6-0 win over Texas on April 18, 2007, Buehrle also faced the minimum 27 batters. He walked Sammy Sosa in the fifth inning of that game, then picked him off two pitches later.

    "I bought everyone watches after the last one. That was an expensive no-hitter," Buehrle said. "This one will probably be more expensive."

    Buehrle and Johnson are the only two active pitchers with a pair of no-hitters, according to STATS LLC. In addition to his perfect game in 2004, The Big Unit tossed a no-hitter for Seattle on June 2, 1990, against Detroit.

    Before the ninth, Buehrle needed no great plays behind him. In the fourth, Evan Longoria hit a line drive right at Ramirez. In the eighth, third baseman Gordon Beckham didn't have to move to catch Pat Burrell's liner.

    "I've been involved in no-hitters before and you just have to move along," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just a loss, but it does impact the team that gets the win, I believe."

    Buehrle went to three-ball counts on five batters, including 3-0 to Bartlett in the sixth. Bartlett took the next two pitches for strikes, fouled one off and then hit a routine grounder to Ramirez. As the shortstop threw to first, those in the crowd of 28,036, sensing history, cheered loudly.

    With one out in the eighth, Ben Zobrist hit a weak grounder that just rolled foul and later popped out on a 3-2 pitch. The next batter, Burrell, lined one just foul to left, with third-base umpire Laz Diaz making an emphatic "foul" call. Burrell then lined out to third moments later.

    The 30-year-old Buehrle became only the second pitcher to throw two no-hitters for the White Sox: Frank Smith did it against Detroit in 1905 and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1908. The only previous perfect game for the White Sox was by Charles Robertson at Detroit on April 30, 1922. There has been only one perfect game in the postseason.

    It was the second no-hitter against the Rays. Derek Lowe accomplished the feat for Boston on April 27, 2002.

    Scott Kazmir (4-6) allowed five runs and five hits in sixth innings. In addition to Fields' grand slam, Ramirez hit an RBI double in the fifth.

    Toward the end, Buehrle's wife Jamie was a wreck as she watched from the seats near home plate with 4-month-old daughter Brooklyn.

    "I'm so proud of my husband, it's unbelievable," she said. "He just never ceases to amaze me. He keeps accomplishing more and more in his career."

    Game notes


    The Rays placed RHP Chad Bradford on the 15-day DL with low back tightness and recalled RHP Dale Thayer from Triple-A Durham. ... After failing on their previous four attempts to go five games over .500, the White Sox succeeded. ... Chicago activated RHP Bartolo Colon from the 15-day DL and optioned RHP Carlos Torres to Triple-A Charlotte.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Game Information

    StadiumU.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, IL
    Attendance28,036 (69% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time2:03
    Weather69 degrees, sunny
    Wind7 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Eric Cooper, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Laz Diaz