Yu Darvish was absolutely dealing against the bottom-feeding Houston Astros on Monday, having retired 17 consecutive batters. Both he and catcher AJ Pierzynski thought he had his 18th on a nasty slider that crossed the plate (not where it lands in Pierzynski’s glove, but where it physically crosses the plate, that’s an important distinction) at the batter’s knees.
However, ump Ron Kulpa didn’t see things quite so clearly, calling a ball. Darvish loosed another ball the very next pitch, walking the batter and losing his perfect game bid. He still had the potential to throw a no-hitter (which he eventually lost as well), but perfect games truly go down in baseball lore.
Take another peek:
Compounding matters is the fact that this ump is obviously looking for trouble. Yes, Pierzynski says something, but it appears he wasn’t actively looking for a confrontation. However, Kulpa follows AJ out towards the mound and then tosses him without so much as another sentence.