July 27, 2011
While the baseball world focused on CC Sabathia's(notes) ultimately unsuccessful attempt for perfection at rainy Yankee Stadium, Justin Germano(notes) went all the way with his bid. The 28-year-old journeyman — a righty in the Cleveland Indians organization — threw a nine-inning perfect game for the Columbus Clippers in their 3-0 win over the Syracuse Chiefs.
To achieve perfection one certainly needs to be efficient. Germano was just that, throwing only 95 pitches (69 strikes) to retire the 27 batters necessary. He struck out seven, including Corey Brown on a called strike three to finish off the fifth perfect game in International League history and the first since Bronson Arroyo(notes) tossed one for Pawtucket back in 2003.
"I just tried to tell myself not to worry about a perfect game", Germano said. "If they got a hit, they got a hit. It'd be great to get a perfect game, but I didn't want to go out there and nibble and put pressure on myself.
"When I got that last called strike, it was pretty cool."
If Germano's name sounds familiar, it should. He has spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues with three different organizations, including the San Diego Padres where he debuted in 2004 and started 23 games in 2007. His most recent stint came earlier this season when he appeared in nine games for the Indians. During those appearances he compiled a 5.68 ERA before being designated for assignment on May 19.
After accepting his assignment to Triple-A Columbus on May 26, Germano continued his struggles out of the bullpen. He was then shifted to the Clippers' starting rotation at the beginning of July, and has pitched well since going 1-1 with a 2.42 ERA and zero walks in four starts.
In fact, in his first start back on July 6, Germano flirted with a perfecto retiring the first 15 batters before allowing back-to-back hits to start the sixth. This time, he got those 12 extra outs, and his teammates couldn't wait to celebrate his historic moment with him in the clubhouse.
That's a very cool scene in the Clippers clubhouse and a great moment for Germano as he attempts to position himself for that next opportunity in the big leagues. A call that is more likely to come now that he has reestablished some value as a starter, but is never guaranteed.