For only a few seconds Saturday,
"Go get it," Humber said as catcher A.J. Pierzynski chased down an errant slider that pinch-hitter
As soon as Pierzynski retreated and completed his throw to first base to complete the 27th consecutive out, the latest chapter in Humber's amazing ascent was completed.
Just 15 months after Humber had to earn his way onto the Sox's 2011 opening-day roster, Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major league history with an efficient 4-0 victory over the Mariners.
Despite protests by Ryan over home plate umpire Brian Runge's call, the Sox's players poured onto the field to mob Humber, 29, who pitched better than his 2004 first-round distinction with the Mets.
"I don't know what Philip Humber is doing in this list," Humber said of the list of pitchers who have thrown perfect games, including former teammate
So are the Sox, who claimed Humber on waivers from Oakland in January 2011 and saw him pitch so well that they went to a six-man rotation last summer because of his success.
As recently as April 10, the Sox skipped Humber's scheduled start after a rainout in Cleveland so they could keep their remaining four starters on schedule.
In his second start of the season, Humber pitched like a bona fide ace. Relying on a sharp slider, Humber tied his career high with nine strikeouts and needed exceptional defensive help only three times, capped by Pierzynski's throw to first.
Humber didn't throw three balls to any batter until he ran up a 3-0 count to
After a high fly hit by pinch-hitter
"It takes a lot of confidence in your stuff to do that, and he had that confidence," Rios said. "It was a good effort with him and A.J."
The last pitcher to throw a perfect game was the Phillies'
Humber said he received 67 text messages about 45 minutes after the game. But that celebration could take a back seat soon.
"My wife (Kristan) is nine months' pregnant, and I was making sure she didn't give birth when I was pitching," said Humber, who also called his father shortly after the game. "Lot of friends, people need to share this moment with because a lot of them helped me along the way."
"I felt (Jake) Peavy on my back," Humber said of the celebration on the field after the final out. "I couldn't breathe and I was (saying), 'let me up.' I skinned my forehead.
"The best part was seeing my teammates excited."