Hernandez joins rare company with perfect relief
ANAHEIM -- In earning his first save since 2006 on Tuesday night, Roberto Hernandez became just the fourth pitcher in Rays history to record a save and a complete game in the same season.
The veteran right-hander joined Albie Lopez (2000, four complete games and two saves), Joe Kennedy ('03, one complete game and one save) and Matt Garza ('10, three complete games and one save). Hernandez also became the second player in the Major Leagues to do it this season; Garrett Richards of the Angels also turned the trick.
Hernandez threw 3 2/3 perfect innings Tuesday night in relief of Matt Moore and struck out seven of 11 batters.
According to baseball-reference.com, it was only the 12th time since 1916 a reliever pitched at least 3 2/3 perfect innings with seven or more strikeouts -- most recently Arizona's Max Scherzer (4 1/3 innings, seven strikeouts) on April 29, 2008, against Houston. Only one other American League pitcher has had a perfect relief outing as long this season. Detroit's Drew Smyly threw four perfect innings against the Yankees on April 5, striking out five.
"The difference for me, he has been really confident and calm about the whole thing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "When he comes in and you give him the ball, he's like, let's go. It definitely gives us another tool to deal with as we move forward."