Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden throws perfect game against Tampa Bay Rays

Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden gets mobbed near the mound after finishing off a perfect game, the second thrown against the Rays in two years.

Associated Press

Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden gets mobbed near the mound after finishing off a perfect game, the second thrown against the Rays in two years.

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Rays had seen this before. It was just last July, an afternoon series finale in Chicago. Another crafty, quick-working left-hander, the White Sox's Mark Buehrle, on the mound. And nothing doing at the plate.

Sunday, stunningly, it happened again.

Facing Oakland's Dallas Braden, the Rays did not get a hit, did not get a walk, did not get a baserunner. All they did get was the notation of having the 18th and 19th perfect games in major-league history thrown against them, and in a span of less than 10 months.

"It's got to be a new major-league record of some kind," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "A very undesirable major-league record."

Naturally, it was. Of the three teams that have had more than one perfect game thrown against them, the Rays managed it twice in the shortest span.

"We're lucky," catcher Dioner Navarro said.

The Rays seemed almost numb to the dubiousness of the "accomplishment" in the 4-0 defeat. Whereas they talked after the July 23 game in Chicago of being embarrassed, Sunday they seemed more resigned to their fate and were big into the mantra that it counted as just one loss, just their ninth against 22 wins, still the majors' best record.

"It's going to happen," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "You'd like for it not to happen, but that's just the way it is. … You don't like to be no-hit, but it's still just a loss."

The Rays made sure to heavily praise Braden, a 26-year-old who until Sunday was most known for taking issue with Alex Rodriguez running across the mound. They raved about his control (first-pitch strikes to 17 of their 27 hitters) and his ability to mix pitches and vary speeds (clocked from 68-90 mph) and keep them off-balance all day. Maddon even signed and sent over his lineup card to Braden.

"The guy had the pitches when he needed them," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "I didn't see two pitches in the same spot the whole game. And that was the same way Buehrle was on the day he did it. He had something special going."

But they also blamed themselves.

"Of course their pitcher had something to do with it," Maddon said, "but I thought a lot of it was self-inflicted."

Several times in his postgame remarks, Maddon noted the Rays didn't play with their "typical energy," suggesting it was the result of having back-to-back day games in the middle of a long trip. (And leaving open to speculation that it may have had something to do with the team having Saturday night off in San Francisco.)

"We just looked flat from the beginning and it just proceeded throughout the day," Maddon said.

There was also talk of their approach at the plate. With the offense already in a major funk — a .189 overall average for their past nine games (though they are 5-4) — they were swinging at pitches they shouldn't have, expanding their strike zones and disregarding their usual patience, and it showed. So much for Get The (Man) In; how about Get A (Man) On?

"Our approach," hitting coach Derek Shelton said, "was not real consistent."

The Rays, who were no-hit into the eighth by the Yankees' CC Sabathia on April 10, didn't even have many close calls against Braden, basically hitting two balls hard — liners to left by Jason Bartlett, in the seventh, and Navarro, in the ninth.

"That's about it," Maddon said. "The other balls were really weakly hit or chasing balls outside the zone."

They struck out six times, grounded out seven times, popped out three times (including once when third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff made a running catch on the edge of the dugout steps). Braden threw just 109 pitches in his first big-league complete game.

Longoria tried a bunt in the fifth — and, no, Braden didn't have any issues with it; "An intelligent play," he said — and Gabe Kapler, who made the final out, battled through a tenacious 12-pitch at-bat in the sixth before popping out.

"I was thinking maybe the knuckleball, the gyroball, the behind-the-back pitch, because I'd tried everything else," Braden said.

As much as it was a forgettable Mother's Day for the Rays, and they couldn't get rid of those pink bats (which will be auctioned off for charity) quickly enough, it was a memorable one for Braden.

His mother, Jodi Atwood, battled cancer and died while he was in high school in nearby Stockton, and he was raised by his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, who was in the stands for Sunday's success.

"It hasn't been a joyous day for me in a while," Braden said. "To know that I can still come out and compete and play in a game on that day makes it a little better, and with my grandma in the stands — to give her this, together, is perfect."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rays 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Athletics 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 X 4 12 0

Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden throws perfect game against Tampa Bay Rays 05/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 10:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome

    College

    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.
  2. Bucs add top executive from MLS to business side

    Blogs

    The Bucs have hired a top executive from Major League Soccer to their business operations in Atul "AK" Khosla, who has spent the last six years as chief operating officer of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.

    Atul Khosla, 38, spent the last six years as chief operating officer of MLS' Chicago Fire. He joins the Bucs as their new chief corporate development and brand officer.
  3. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  4. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers

    Blogs

     

  5. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody

    Blogs

    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

    Fred McGriff in his new commercial for Chassis, a men's grooming line, that looks a lot like his old one.