Justin Germano stood in the Clippers dugout talking to the media Tuesday night when someone from the first row of seats yelled down, “Hey Justin, this was pretty special”. That may be the understatement of the year.
Germano has had a roller coaster year. Heck, he’s had a roller coaster career for that matter, but on a cozy summer night in Syracuse, he was magical.
I’ve been broadcasting professional baseball for almost a decade and I’ve attended more than one thousand games. Believe me when I say that I’ve never seen ANYTHING like Germano’s performance.
Germano was brilliant for 95 pitches, 65 strikes, and seven strikeouts. The Chiefs managed to only make solid contact on a handful of occasions. Germano diced up the Chiefs lineup in a cool two hours and 14 minutes.
When the game ended, Germano was mobbed by his teammates just to the left of the pitcher’s mound. Justin, a very mild-mannered individual, couldn’t help but crack a smile. Catcher Paul Phillips handed Germano the game ball as a keepsake, manager Mike Sarbaugh carefully removed the lineup card from the dugout wall for him, and a Syracuse bat boy tracked down a ticket stub to add to Justin’s artifacts.
The Clippers players waited inside the clubhouse doors for Justin to enter from the dugout tunnel. Mike Sarbaugh and his players were grinning from ear to ear as they anticipated his arrival for an off-field celebration.
It’s the second time one of Sarbaugh’s pitchers has accomplished such history, Jeanmar Gomez threw a Double-A perfect game in 2009 with Akron.
Germano has always seen himself as a starter, it fits him better because of the routine involved between outings. He’s been mostly in a long relief roll with the Indians organization and was designated for assignment (removed from 40-man roster) twice this year. In the offseason, the Tribe bumped him because they needed roster space, forcing Germano to re-earn a big league spot in spring training. He did. Then he was sent packing in May and returned to Columbus, but originally as a reliever.
When Scott Barnes went down with injury and the rotation shuffling began resulted in David Huff going to the majors, Germano was given his change to start again. Mike Sarbaugh moved him into the rotation. In only his third start as a “regular” in the rotation, he was perfect. Twenty-seven batters up and twenty-seven batters down, truly remarkable.
Germano will make his next start this Sunday at Huntington Park against Norfolk. The odds are pretty good that this won’t happen again for Germano, not Sunday or ever. However, he’ll always have July 26, 2011 to remember. Everyone in the Clippers clubhouse and in Alliance Bank Stadium will too.
Only the fifth person since 1884 to throw a 9-inning perfect game in the International League, that’s more than “pretty special”.
Tuesday night in Syracuse…
Clippers celebrate Germano’s perfect game
It is only the fifth 9-inning perfect game in International League history:
8/9/1910 – Chester Carmichael – Buffalo
8/15/1952 – Dick Marlowe – Buffalo
6/1/2000 – Tomo Ohka – Pawtucket
8/10/2003 – Bronson Arroyo – Pawtucket
7/26/2011 – Justin Germano – Columbus
Here’s what a perfect game looks like on a (digital) scorecard
Here is a list of all the Clippers no-hitters:
7/25/1977 – Rod Scurry vs. Richmond (7 innings)
6/8/1988 – Scott Nielsen vs. Maine
7/5/1991 – Kevin Mmahat vs. Louisville
6/26/1995 – Mariano Rivera vs. Rochester (5 innings)
6/10/2002 – Adrian Hernandez, Bob Scanlan, Kevin Lovingier vs. Indianapolis
7/26/2011 – Justin Germano vs. Syracuse
* Germano threw 95 pitches (65 strikes) and recorded seven strikeouts.
* It’s Germano’s first no-hitter in professional baseball