Drew Rasmussen loses bid at perfect game after Rays right-hander yields hit in ninth inning vs. Orioles

rasmussen-2us.jpg
USATSI

Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen flirted with the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history on Sunday, keeping the Baltimore Orioles off the board through eight innings as part of a 4-1 victory (GameTracker). Jorge Mateo led off the ninth inning with a double, ending Rasmussen's attempt at immortality. (Mateo later broke up the shutout by scoring on a wild pitch.)

Had Rasmussen completed the perfect game, the timing would have been a heck of a coincidence. MLB's most recent perfect game was thrown by Félix Hernández on Aug. 15, 2012, or nearly 10 years to the day. In another amusing twist, Hernández's historic afternoon came against -- who else -- Rasmussen's Rays.

Rasmussen, 27, entered Sunday with a 2.96 ERA (125 ERA+) and a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 19 starts this season. He hadn't pitched deeper than the seventh inning in any of those contests, however, as the Rays tend to be aggressive in limiting their starters' exposure.

Rasmussen earned the opportunity to go coast-to-coast on Sunday by being especially efficient through the first eight innings. Indeed, he entered the ninth with fewer than 80 pitches. Alas, Rasmussen was lifted after recording his 25th out of the afternoon. (Reliever Jason Adam struck out the two batters he faced to end the game.) That brought his final line to 8 1/3 innings, one hit, one run, no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 87 pitches, with 62 of them going for strikes. 

Rasmussen leaned heavily on three pitches Sunday: his mid-90s fastball, his upper-80s cutter and his mid-80s slider. He coerced 17 whiffs on 51 swings, with seven of those coming against the heater. Orioles hitters missed on more than 40 percent of the 22 swings they took against his cutter and slider tandem.

Offensively, the Rays were paced by Randy Arozarena, who launched his 15th home run of the season in the third inning to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. David Peralta later singled in a run to stake out a 4-0 lead in the fifth. 

The Rays have still never thrown a perfect game in their franchise history; likewise, the Orioles have never had a perfect game thrown against them. Both parties have been subject to no-hitters, with Matt Garza delivering the only one in Tampa Bay's franchise history back in 2010.

The Rays and Orioles have been and will continue to jockey for position in the American League wild card race. The Rays' win on Sunday extends Tampa Bay's lead over Baltimore to 1 1/2 games. 

For those wondering, the record for the fewest number of pitches thrown in a no-hitter belongs to the late lefty Darryl Kile, who sawed through the New York Mets on 83 pitches back in 1993. The fewest in a perfect game, meanwhile, was the 88 thrown by David Cone against the Montreal Expos back in 1999.

You can relive CBS Sports' live coverage of the perfect game bid below.

Live updates
(20)
See New Posts
Pinned
@RaysBaseball via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:37 PM
Pinned
@RaysBaseball via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:34 PM
Pinned

The Rays win by a 4-1 final.

Pinned
@Orioles via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:19 PM
Pinned
@CBSSportsMLB via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:16 PM
Pinned
@Orioles via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:10 PM
Pinned

Remember, it wasn't long ago he was a reliever. The Rays deserve credit for giving him a chance to start. And he deserves credit for making it work as well as it has.

Pinned

So much for that. Still, a fantastic outing by Drew Rasmussen.

Pinned
@CBSSportsMLB via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 8:08 PM
Pinned

This would be the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history. It would also be the first since August 15, 2012 -- yes, tomorrow would be 10 years.

Pinned

Welcome to our live coverage of Drew Rasmussen's attempted perfect game.

Pinned
@CBSSportsMLB via Twitter
August 14, 2022, 7:59 PM
Watch Now: