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August 12, 2013

Sixth-inning walk by Yu Darvish ends perfect game, A.J. Pierzynski's day

Yu Darvish retired 17 straight batters to start his day, and had a chance at perfection once again on Monday afternoon. He had two outs in the sixth inning, and uncorked a 2-2 slider to Jonathan Villar, the Astros’ No. 9 batter.

A.J. Pierzynski thought it should have been a strike and ended the sixth inning. Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa felt the pitch was down in the zone.

Darvish then threw a 3-2 slider in the dirt that Villar took for Ball Four, and trotted down to first base. Pierzynski wasn’t pleased with the call on the 2-2 pitch and let his feelings be known to Kulpa.

Kulpa promptly ejected Pierzynski, saying afterwards: “He said enough to get ejected.”

Said Pierzynski: “I thought it was [a strike] and Ron didn’t. I was upset we walked a guy, and I said a bad word and I was ejected. That was it and it’s over.”

Rangers closer Joe Nathan went back to check the replay on the questionable pitch, and ultimately agreed with Kulpa even though he wanted to see a perfect game as much as anybody.

“Tough call, but it definitely looked like a ball to me,” Nathan said.

Geovany Soto replaced Pierzynski behind the plate and the perfect game bid turned into a no-hit bid. Darvish and Soto carried the no-hitter into the eighth inning, but it was broken up by Carlos Corporan who sent a first-pitch cutter over the right-field fence.

Darvish was an out away from a perfect game in his season debut against the Astros on April 2, but said it wasn’t too disappointing to miss out on another opportunity to make history.

“I think I’ve said this before, a win is a win,” Darvish said. “I’m so glad that I was a big part of this win.”

-- Drew Davison

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