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06/02/10 11:59 PM ET
Carmona outdueled by near perfecto
Right-hander's eight stellar innings topped by Galarraga
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
DETROIT -- His disappointment couldn't match that of Armando Galarraga. But it was disappointment, all the same, for Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona in the wake of the Tribe's 3-0 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. At least Galarraga, whose perfect-game bid was thwarted by a blown call by first-base umpire Jim Joyce with two outs in the ninth, had the consolation prize that was the victory. Carmona, on the other hand, had pitched impressively for eight innings and had nothing to show for it. The strongest start in this resurgent season for the right-hander went to waste, as the bats hired to support him went down with little-to-no noise. "It's hard for me," Carmona said. "I want the team to hit and score runs, but I can't control that. I need to think about pitching."
Carmona, who allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts over eight innings, made relatively few mistakes on the evening. He hung one to Miguel Cabrera in the second, and Cabrera pounded it out to left for a leadoff homer. That was it off Carmona for the game's first seven innings, in which he induced two double plays. It was easy to get caught up in Galarraga's dominance of the Tribe bats, but Carmona certainly played his part, too, in this game being played in a crisp one hour and 44 minutes. "He was fantastic," manager Manny Acta said. "Every time it looked like he was going to give up a couple runs, he got a double play." As lost as Galarraga made the Indians' hitters look at times, they had a shot all night to win this game. And that was a credit to Carmona, who made it through eight innings for just the second time this season. Watching Carmona and Galarraga match each other, inning for inning, was like something out of the 1960s. The only caveat was that Galarraga's brilliance went to the brink of perfection. "That was some of the best pitching I've seen this year," first baseman Russell Branyan said. Galarraga's bid for perfection would be thwarted by that missed call at first base. But Carmona was also hurt by a close call at the bag. With two outs and a man on first in the eighth, he got Johnny Damon to ground to short. Joyce ruled Damon safe on the play at first, though replays indicated he was out. "It's the human element part of the game," Acta said. "Sometimes you're not going to get it right. Johnny Damon was also out [in the eighth], and it cost Fausto and the Indians two runs. That's part of the game. You can't take away the human element of the game. Unless you make baseball like football where you can throw a red flag on the field, we're going to have to live and die with that. I personally don't want to see a flag thrown on the field myself." Galarraga is probably in favor of replay after what happened to him in the ninth. His Tigers ended up extending their lead to 3-0 when Magglio Ordonez followed Damon's hit with a single to right that scored Austin Jackson. Shin-Soo Choo's errant throw on the play allowed Damon to score. With even more of a cushion to work with, all Galarraga had to do was retire the lower-third of the Indians' lineup to become the first Tigers hurler to toss a perfect game. Mark Grudzielanek sent a high fly to center that was run down on an amazing play by Austin Jackson, Mike Redmond grounded out weakly to short and Donald appeared to ground out to first for the final out, until Joyce intervened. "I'm happy and sad," Galarraga said, who did receive an apology from Joyce after the game. "I don't know. You guys like me all watched the TV and saw the replays, and they know for any pitcher in any league anywhere, that it was a perfect game. When you watch the replays, it was totally an out. ... There's no way he can call that safe. That's what made me sad. I can't help it. I really can't help it." But Galarraga had the beer shower from his teammates. He had the sympathy of all those who will consider this a perfect game, no matter what the books say. And most of all, he has the win. Carmona had none of this. He had another stepping-stone start, but a look of extreme disappointment to go with it. "It's difficult," he said. "That was my best start. I threw every pitch for a strike and had no walks." And no win.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.