Umpire Admits Blowing Perfect Game

With only one out to go, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers was on the verge of one of baseball's loftiest and rarest accomplishments -- a pefect game -- until one blown call cost him a place in the record books.

The Tigers' Armando Galarraga had not allowed a single hitter to reach base through eight and two-thirds innings when Jason Donald of the Cleveland Indians hit a ground ball towards first.

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera cleanly fielded the ball and tossed it to Galarraga, who was covering first, seemingly in time to get Donald out.

In a call that's sure to go down in infamy for Tigers fans for generations to come, umpire Jim Joyce spread his arms wide, pronouncing Donald safe.

The call was immediately disputed by Tigers manager Jim Leyland and several other players and instant replays showed that Donald was clearly out. The nearly 18,000 fans at Detroit's Comerica Field, many clearly irate, launched into rancous booing.

Blown Call
Umpire ruins Armando Galarraga perfect game

For his part, Galarraga just smiled and started back for the mound. After the game, though, he expresssed his frustration.

"I feel sad," Galarraga said. "I just watched the replay 20 times and there's no way you can call him safe. ... [The umpire] needs to do a better job in that situation. It wasn't even close."

After the game, Joyce admitted he had made the wrong call and reportedly apologized to Galarraga.

"It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (stuff) out of it," Joyce said after the game, according to the AP. "I just cost that kid a perfect game.

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"I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay," he said after the Tigers' 3-0 win.

It would've been the just the 21st perfect game in major league history, and the first for a Detroit Tiger.

Joyce began his professional officiating career for the major leagues more than 20 years ago, the AP reported.

Though the feat is a rare occurence in the history of baseball, Galarraga's would have been the third this season, following Oakland's Dallas Braden and the Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay, who both threw perfect games last month.

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Leyland told reporters after the game that the "human element" is a part of professional baseball and said he will not take the matter in front of the league.

Leyland also praised Joyce as a good umpire.

The controversy is expected to shine a spotlight on the already debated use of instant replay in Major League Baseball. Currently the technology is only used in very limited circumstances, such as to tell whether a home run ball was fair or foul.

Despite the call, the Tigers still beat the Indians, 3-0.

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