Germán delivers MLB’s 1st perfect game since 2012

Yankees RHP joins Cone (1999), Wells (1998) and Larsen (1956) with 4th in franchise history

June 29th, 2023

OAKLAND -- was not alone when he took the mound at the Coliseum on Wednesday evening. His beloved uncle, who had passed away two days prior, was there with him in spirit.

It had been an emotional couple of days for Germán and his family, but the support he received from his teammates helped carry him through.

"There was no doubt about making the start," Germán said in Spanish via interpreter Marlon Abreu. "We had really good communication going back and forth with my family. Yeah, definitely not an easy week. [At] the same time, I felt like staying here with the team, doing my job."

With his late uncle with him every step of the way, Germán tossed Major League Baseball's first perfect game since 2012 in the Yankees' 11-0 win over the A's. It was the fourth perfect game in franchise history, and the first since David Cone's dominant performance against the Expos on July 18, 1999.

"So happy," Germán said. "Very exciting, very happy. … Not much I can say, really."

It was the 24th perfect game in AL/NL history and the first since the Mariners' Félix Hernández tossed one on Aug. 15, 2012, against the Rays in Seattle.

Germán has had a complicated tenure with the Yankees. He was a key contributor early in his career, particularly in 2019, when he went 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games (24 starts).

But Germán missed the final nine regular-season games that year when he was placed on administrative leave. Eventually, Germán accepted an 81-game suspension from MLB for violating the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy.

Since then, Germán has struggled to get consistent results. He received an automatic 10-game suspension after failing a sticky substance check earlier this season, and he entered Wednesday with the potential to make the wrong kind of history by becoming just the fifth pitcher in franchise history to allow seven-plus runs in three straight games.

Instead, Germán snapped a streak of another kind with his historic night. The A's had not been no-hit since July 13, 1991, in a combined effort by four Orioles pitchers, which was the longest active streak in the Majors.

The last time an opposing pitcher was perfect against the A's? May 5, 1904, when Cy Young and the Boston Americans went 27 up, 27 down against the Philadelphia Athletics.

It was the Yankees’ fourth perfect game, breaking a tie at three with the White Sox for the most of any team. Germán joins Cone, David Wells (May 17, 1998 vs. Twins) and Don Larsen (Oct. 8, 1956, in Game 5 of the World Series vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers) as Yankees pitchers to throw perfect games.

"When he gets rolling like that, he's just so fun to watch at his craft," manager Aaron Boone said. "He's so good at commanding all of his pitches. His curveball was great tonight. But because his changeup and his fastball were good, too, it made that curveball even more special.

"I was actually pretty calm over there. Again, just enjoying watching him kind of paint a masterpiece."

Germán's big night began with a career milestone, his 500th strikeout, which perhaps hinted at more good things to come later in the evening.

The 30-year-old right-hander did not seem to miss a beat throughout the evening, even when the Yankees batted around in a six-run top of the fifth inning that lasted more than 20 minutes. Germán got through the bottom half of that frame on 10 pitches, displaying a remarkable efficiency that lasted all the way to the final out.

Germán struck out nine and needed just 99 pitches -- giving him a Maddux, a shutout in fewer than 100 pitches. He is the first pitcher to throw a Maddux in a perfect game since Philip Humber of the White Sox threw 96 pitches in his perfect game on April 21, 2012.

“He threw that curveball in any count that he wanted to," A's second baseman Tony Kemp said. "It was spinning differently and moving differently. He put his fastball where he wanted to. Changeup as well. He just kind of mixed them. Got a couple of good swings off him, but no results.”

It was Kemp who put together the A’s most formidable threat to Germán’s attempt at history, as his fourth-inning flyout to Giancarlo Stanton in right field traveled 349 feet and would have been a home run in precisely one ballpark, per Statcast: Yankee Stadium. 

No perfecto would be complete without a critical play to preserve the bid, and Anthony Rizzo supplied just that for the Yankees when he dove to his left to smother a 106.5 mph grounder off the bat of Seth Brown in the bottom of the fifth. Rizzo snared it, then flipped it to Germán at first for the out.

"I knew it was a fantastic play by Rizz," catcher Kyle Higashioka said. "I thought it was hit hard. … I didn't have a great view of that play, but I saw him lay out for it. He's a Platinum Glover for a reason."

Rizzo also made a nice grab on a throw from third baseman Josh Donaldson that veered slightly wide to end the eighth inning, stretching across the bag but managing to keep his foot down to retire Oakland's Jonah Bride.

Equally historic as Germán's feat on the mound was the amount of run support he received from a Yankees' offense that has been scuffling in June. The 11 runs scored behind him are the most in any perfect game, topping the Giants’ 10-0 victory in Matt Cain’s in 2012. The only Yankees no-hitter with a larger margin of victory was the team’s 13-0 win behind Monte Pearson on Aug. 27, 1938.

Higashioka has now been behind the plate for the last two historic Yankees pitching performances: Germán's perfecto and Corey Kluber's no-hitter in 2021. While he may be a common thread between those two games, Higashioka maintained that he didn't have much to do with Germán's dominance.

"It was quite different," Higashioka said. "Honestly, I just felt like I was a passenger for this one. Just don't miss the ball, and don't mess it up. Domingo was definitely driving the ship, and he had a plan. I mean, we both had a plan, but he had just ultimate confidence in his stuff."