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Halama: First PCL perfect game since 1976

TACOMA, Wash. -- John Halama, whom the Seattle Mariners recently demoted to Triple-A Tacoma, threw a perfect game Saturday as the Rainiers beat Calgary 6-0.

The left-hander retired all 27 batters in order -- nine on
strikeouts, 11 on groundouts and seven on flyouts. Halama threw the first nine-inning game in the 99-year history over the Pacific Coast League and the fifth pitcher in league history to throw a perfect game of any kind. Gary Johnson of the Hawaii Islanders was the last to do it on May 19, 1975, hurling a five-inning gem in a 19-0 rout of the Salt Lake City Gulls.

The feat came just four nights after Brett Tomko, also recently sent down by the Mariners, pitched a no-hitter against Oklahoma City.

"I was just trying to stay within myself," Halama told The News Tribune of Tacoma after the game. "I got sent down here for a specific reason: to get my mechanics back and to get the ball down.

"My first two games here I've gotten a lot of ground-ball outs."

Halama was sent down June 28 after he struggled in consecutive
starts, allowing 13 runs, 10 earned, on 15 hits in 7 1/3 innings
over two games.

Halama himself made the final putout, covering first on Ben
Candelaria's grounder to first baseman Todd Betts.

Betts saved the perfect game in the seventh by leaping off the
bag to grab a throw from shortstop Ramon Vazquez and then tagging
out batter Mike Gulan.

Vazquez provided most of Tacoma's offense with a grand slam in
the second inning. Luis Figueroa hit a two-run single in the
eighth.

Halama, 29, is 2-0 since joining Tacoma, which won its sixth
straight to improve to 58-33.

With the Mariners this season, Halama was 6-5 with a 5.42 ERA in
16 starts. His ERA was the highest among the team's starters.

Last season, he had a 14-9 record with a 5.08 ERA in 30 starts.
He made two starts, with no decisions, against the New York Yankees
in the ALCS.

"The call of getting back up, that's going to be Seattle's decision," he said. "I still feel myself pulling off (the mound). Two starts don't mean I'm there."

About 6,850 people attended the game Saturday.