Note: This story originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune on July 23, 2009
Mark Buehrle raised his arms, grabbed his head and braced himself Thursday for a human pileup along the first-base line.
Buehrle flawlessly pitched the
"I never thought I'd throw a no-hitter, never thought I'd throw a perfect game and I never thought I'd hit a home run," Buehrle said. "Never say never in this game because crazy stuff can happen."
Buehrle, 30, a four-time All-Star, became just the sixth pitcher in big-league history to throw a perfect game and another no-hitter. He pitched a no-hitter against Texas in 2007, and he hit a home run in Milwaukee last month.
Thursday's achievement marked the 17th no-hitter in Sox history and only the second perfect game. Charles Robertson had the other at Detroit on April 30, 1922.
Buehrle (11-3) joined Frank Smith (1905, 1908) as the only Sox pitchers to throw two no-hitters.
Buehrle's perfection couldn't have arrived at a more opportune time for the Sox, who moved into a share of first place for the first time since May 1 as they open a four-game series Friday at co-leader Detroit.
Since losing to the Tigers in the first game of a June 8 doubleheader that infuriated manager Ozzie Guillen, the Sox have posted a 24-14 record, erasing a 5 1/2 -game deficit.
"The perfect game is the story, but the fact that we won the game, won the series against Tampa Bay and go into Detroit with some momentum ... that hopefully will carry into this weekend," said catcher
Fields was the hitting hero, giving Buehrle the only run support he needed on a grand slam in the second inning off Scott Kazmir. Dewayne Wise provided the fielding highlight, robbing
What made this perfect game so remarkable for Buehrle is that he relied on his breaking ball and off-speed pitches.