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Detroit Tigers Perfect Game Almost for Armando Galarraga

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It was almost there, the perfect game for Detroit Tigers Armando Galarraga. He of the 20-18 career record, needed one more out to join Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay as the third pitcher since May 9 to throw a perfect game.

In the entire history of baseball, there are only 18 recorded perfect games. Three of which happened in the past 24 days.

When Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera ranged to his right to field a Jason Donald grounder and fired to Galarraga covering at the first-base bag for out No. 27, the perfect game club welcomed its 21st member, and a crowd of 17,738 in Detroit could simultaneously exhale and then celebrate en masse.

But then, umpire Jim Joyce inexplicably ruled Donald safe on a play that, even to the most die-hard Indians fan, was clearly an out.

Joyce just plain missed it, and he was the only person in Detroit who seemed oblivious to it. “There were about 18,000 people here who were extremely upset. And I’m going to bet there are at least a million people in Venezuela that are pretty upset, too.”

Galarraga, a native of Cumana Sucre, Venezuela, responded with a disbelieving smile at the news flash that he would not be joining Halladay and Braden.

He now resides in the esteemed company of Dave Stieb, Brian Holman, Pedro Martinez and Mike Mussina – the last four major league pitchers to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth or later.

Yes, Galarraga would have had his perfect game, on paper, but that single transcendent moment of celebration is something that can never be retrieved.

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