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Monday, May 10, 2010
The Closer: Pitcher perfect

By ESPN Stats & Information

Dallas Braden threw the 18th regular-season perfect game in major-league history (against the Rays) on Sunday, less than a year after Mark Buehrle of the White Sox threw a perfecto against Tampa Bay (last July 23). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the shortest time span separating a pair of perfect games since Worcester’s Lee Richmond (vs. Cleveland) and Providence’s Monte Ward (vs. Buffalo) threw the first two perfect games in major-league history within a one-week span in 1880 (June 12 and June 17, respectively).

Braden was also the first pitcher to throw a perfect game against a team that entered the day with the best record in the major leagues. The Rays began Sunday with a 22–8 mark, one-half game better than the Yankees (21–8).

Career games started includes perfect game start

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

>>Does not include Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956 World Series

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

>>Perfect game

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Why Dallas Braden threw a perfect game:

- Let his fielders do the work. Braden induced only five missed swings all game, the lowest total of the last nine no-hitters, and his six strikeouts is tied for the third-lowest total of the 19 perfect games in MLB history.

- Threw strikes. 63.3% of his pitches he threw in the zone, the highest percentage of his seven starts this season. Braden only went to a 2-0 count once all game (Jason Bartlett leading off the seventh inning, who lined out on the next pitch to left field).

- Mixed in his changeup effectively. Braden recorded three of his five missed swings and three of his six strikeouts on the changeup. 19 of his 25 changeups thrown Sunday were with two strikes (76%), and Tampa Bay hitters finished 0-9 against the pitch.