Tom Browning's perfect game

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A ticket from Browning's perfect game.

On September 16, 1988, Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds pitched the 12th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 at Riverfront Stadium. Browning threw 72 of his 100 pitches for strikes and did not run the count to three balls on a single Dodger hitter. He recorded seven strikeouts, the last of which was to the game's final batter, pinch-hitter Tracy Woodson. [1]

A two-hour, 27 minute rain delay forced the game to start at approximately 10 PM local time. The rain delay lasted longer than the game itself, played in a brisk one hour, 51 minutes.

The game's lone run came in the sixth inning. Batting against Tim Belcher, himself working on a no-hitter, Barry Larkin doubled and advanced to third on Chris Sabo's infield single; an error by Jeff Hamilton on the play enabled Larkin to score.

Browning, who became the first left-handed pitcher to pitch a perfect game since Sandy Koufax in 1965 (see Sandy Koufax's perfect game), had had another no-hitter broken up earlier in the season, against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium on June 6. A Tony Gwynn single with one out in the ninth foiled this bid and would be the only hit Browning allowed in defeating the Padres 12-0.

The Dodgers would go on to win the World Series—the only time, to date, that a team has won a World Series after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season. (Only one other team has since earned a postseason berth after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season: the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays, who were on the losing end of Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9, went on to win the American League East title.) Kirk Gibson, whose walk-off home run in Game One of that Series helped the Dodgers defeat the Oakland Athletics 4 games to 1, was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Quick after striking out in the seventh inning of the perfect game.

On July 4 of the following season, Browning narrowly missed becoming the first pitcher to throw two perfect games. Against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium, his Reds leading 2-0, he retired the first 24 batters he faced before Dickie Thon broke up the bid with a leadoff double. After striking out Steve Lake, Browning gave up a single to Steve Jeltz to score Thon. John Franco then relieved Browning and got Len Dykstra to hit into a game-ending double play.

Boxscore[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles Dodgers (84-61) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Cincinnati Reds (77-69) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 1 3 0
WP: Tom Browning (16-5)   LP: Tim Belcher (10-5)

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