Angel second baseman Rex Hudler stood in the on-deck circle in the eighth inning, leaned over into the stands, and calmly told the Texas Ranger fans that he was going to ruin their night.
In an act of braggadocio, or perhaps stupidity, Hudler vowed he was personally going to ruin Ranger pitcher Kenny Rogers' perfect game.
"I was telling the fans in the first five rows that I was going to get him," Hudler said. "I wanted him bad. I was going to hit an ugly bleeder that would (tee) off everyone."
Rogers had cruised all evening, throwing only 59 pitches through six innings without so much as a hard-hit ball. He teased the Angels with his curveball. Threw his 90-m.p.h fastball past them. He never gave the Angels a chance to draw so much as a walk.
Hudler led off the ninth. On an 0-and-2 pitch, he guessed fastball and got it.
"When I hit it, I said, 'Way to go. You did it,' " Hudler said. "Then I started looking up, and the ball kept hanging up there. Then the guy dives.
"I couldn't believe what I saw.
"I just set him up with the highlight play of the year."
Center fielder Rusty Greer, getting a great jump, sprinted toward the right-center gap, dived, and caught the ball, preserving the perfect game.
"I just tried to get a good jump on it," Greer said. "I didn't really know I'd get it when it left the bat, but I was just glad I was able to get there.
"My adrenaline was flowing. I didn't realize how important it was until there were two outs. Then I had to calm down."
Said Rogers: "I thought it was a hit for sure. I said, 'He's not catching that ball. That ball's a hit.'
"I didn't even know he caught it until he got up, and threw the ball back in. It was spectacular. There's no other words to describe it."
Bo Jackson struck out for the second out. Two pitches later, Gary DiSarcina hit a fly ball to straightaway center, and Greer caught it, jumping up and down along with everyone else at the stadium.
"I thought I hit it pretty good," said DiSarcina, now 0 for 17 against Rogers in his career. "I took two, three steps out of the box, saw the guy wasn't moving, and said, 'Wow! He did it.'
"I never have got a hit off the guy, so I guess it was his fifth no-hitter against me."
Said Hudler: "I'm embarrassed I took an 0-for-3 off him. I'm embarrassed we lost seven in a row. But I'm not embarrassed what he did against us. We ran into a buzz-saw man.
"I mean, I was embarrassed when we got no-hit by Fernando (Valenzuela) when I was with the Cardinals because he was getting up in age, but not tonight.
"To tell you the truth, I was honored to be in the lineup."