Texas Rangers: Ron Hassey
HOUSTON -- Yu Darvish flirted with baseball history Tuesday night. So did new Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
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Pierzynski was behind the plate for Philip Humber's perfect game with the White Sox against Seattle on April 12 last year. Amazingly, Humber was in the Astros' dugout Tuesday night and is starting for Houston against the Rangers on Wednesday.
Pierzynski was aware that he was on the verge of matching Hassey's record, he said Wednesday morning.
"I knew about it," said Pierzynski, who also caught Mark Buehrle's no-hitter with the White Sox in 2007.
Pierzynski's hitting coach with the White Sox, Greg Walker, played with Hassey. So Pierzynski said he and Walker had talked about Hassey catching Len Barker's perfect game with Cleveland in 1981 and Dennis Martinez's in 1991 with the Montreal Expos.
Pierzynski's perfect games caught would have had a different distinction, coming in back-to-back seasons. Pierzynski was noticeably disappointed in the moments after Darvish lost his perfect game, more for his pitcher than himself.
"He wants to do well," Pierzynski said. "He was close to doing something really special."
Darvish took missing the 24th perfect game in major league history in stride, smiling and enjoying the moment as manager Ron Washington came out to pull him after Gonzalez's hit.
Pierzynski, meanwhile, showed a different emotion.
"Sure, I was mad," Pierzynski said. "It was frustrating to be that close to a perfect game and lose it."
Pierzynski still has Humber's perfect game. He shared an interesting moment with his former teammate after Darvish retired Carlos Corporan for the second out of the ninth inning.
Pierzynski said he looked into the Astros dugout and made eye contact with Humber.
"He didn't look up at first, but then he did," Pierzynski said.
"I have two center fielders," Washington said. "This is not a platoon. I put Gentry against a righty yesterday. I have to find both of them playing time."
Martin is 2-for-4 against Humber, so that likely factored into Washington's decision. Gentry will start Friday against the Angels and left-hander Jason Vargas.
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