In the third inning, I knew something special was happening.
As any Mariners fan will tell you, every fifth game gives us a rare opportunity to witness Felix Hernandez craft an incredible game. Some days, he strikes out as many as twelve batters. Other days, the offense fails or the bullpen blows up. Every Felix Day, we hold our breath waiting for that first hit.
Today, that hit never came.
In the sixth inning, I knew not only that this would be a special game, but that I needed to see it. I’ve never been overly superstitious when it comes to baseball, so if there was even a slight chance of watching Felix complete a perfect game, I wanted to be there.
In the seventh inning, Felix blew through batters 19, 20, and 21. Joe Madden left the game. I cursed the traffic on I-90.
In the eighth inning, he struck out the side. I nearly had a nervous breakdown on the ramp to Safeco Field, hoping that the Mariners would find one more run to pocket so I could make a dash for the Home Plate Gate.
In the ninth inning, Felix Hernandez finished off the first perfect game in Mariners history. He tossed his 113th pitch for his 12th strikeout. He coasted through 27 outs on the back of an RBI single from Jesus Montero. He only allowed a 3-2 count twice. He made 26 bats swing and miss with invisible, unhittable pitches. He earned the title of “King,” not just from his Court, but from Mariners Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. And he did it for the fans.
Congratulations, King Felix. This has been a long time coming, and we couldn’t be happier, prouder of you, or more excited to see what else you have in store.
Oh, and for those wondering—I made it to the park.
Next game: vs. Twins | August 17 | 7:10pm