Rookie draws walk to break up perfecto

Rookie draws walk to break up perfecto

Rookie draws walk to break up perfecto
TORONTO -- One determined at-bat, one close pitch. That was the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game for Tigers' right-hander Justin Verlander.

It came with one out in the eighth. Mike McCoy had just lined out to center, now it was rookie Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia who was coming up for his third try against Verlander.

It turned out to be a memorable at-bat, 12 pitches, about as memorable as a walk can be.

Arencibia fouled off the first three pitches and was behind 0-2 in the count. In all, he fouled off eight pitches, before walking on a close fastball that Verlander acknowledged was a ball.

Justin Verlander, No-hitter

"After that first pitch I fouled back, I was pretty late on it." Arencibia said. "And I said, you know, 'I need to get ready early and really be as easy as possible so I can be as quick as possible.'

"You know, he made some good pitches that I was able to foul off and I knew he was going to come after me and I knew he going to throw his fastballs at me once we got a 3-2 count. I was able to foul off a couple of them.

imperfect pitch
The pitch-by-pitch breakdown of J.P. Arencibia's eighth-inning at-bat.
No. Speed Pitch Result
1 99 Fastball (Two-seam) Foul
2 87 Changeup Foul
3 99 Fastball (Four-seam) Foul
4 82 Curveball Ball
5 80 Curveball Ball
6 87 Slider Foul
7 86 Changeup Foul
8 101 Fastball (Four-seam) Foul
9 87 Slider Foul
10 88 Slider Ball
11 100 Fastball (Four-seam) Foul
12 100 Fastball (Two-seam) Ball

"I felt I was seeing it pretty good and he threw that one off the plate away and it was a thing where it was just a crazy at-bat. It's tough for him to give it up that way, but he obviously deserves all the credit today."

The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion, hit into a double play, so Verlander still faced the minimum number of batters, 27.

"It was a ball and that was my thought," Verlander said. "I sometimes get pretty emotional out there on the mound, especially if I think a ball is close or what not and I can't help it, it's just my nature but that one right out of my finger tips I knew it was just a hair outside and it was. It was a ball and you got to give Jerry [plate umpire Meals] a good job, he called it a ball and it was."

Catcher Alex Avila added, "It was a great at-bat. [Arencibia] just battled. Give him credit for putting an at-bat together. He took a close pitch. It was a ball.

"I looked at it again and it was it was a little bit off but it was really close. I would have expected in a situation like that he would swing at it, it was very close, but he's always been a good hitter. I've faced him a lot in college."

Verlander agreed, "[It was a] hell of an at-bat, amazing at-bat especially for a young guy like [Arencibia]. He laid off some good pitches, he fouled off some good pitches. I can't say enough about the way he battled in that at-bat. You've got to tip your cap some time."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, "I was really impressed with [Arencibia]. We haven't seen much of him and I was really impressed with the kid. I know he's a highly touted young catcher and he had some great at-bats. I thought he battled all the way."

Larry Millson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.