|Date||May 18, 2004|
On Tuesday, May 18, 2004, Randy Johnson, who was a pitcher for the Major League Baseball (MLB) Arizona Diamondbacks, pitched a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves. The game took place at Turner Field in Atlanta in front of a crowd of 23,381 people. Johnson, who was 40 at the time, was the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game, surpassing Cy Young who was 37 when he threw his perfect game in 1904. This perfect game was the 17th in baseball history, with the 16th perfect game being David Cone in 1999.Johnson's perfect game was also the seventh in National League history, the predecessor being Dennis Martínez in 1991.
Going into the game, Johnson had a win-loss record of 3-4 with a 2.83 earned run average (ERA) in eight games during the 2004 season. On April 16, 2004, Johnson pitched a complete game shutout against the San Diego Padres.
The game started at 7:36 p.m. in front of 23,381 people at Turner Field in Atlanta. The game was nationally televised by TBS as part of the Braves' TV contract at the time and on FSN Arizona in the Diamondbacks' local market. Johnson's catcher for the game was Robby Hammock, who was playing his second season in the Majors. Johnson later praised Hammock stating, "I only shook [Hammock] off two or three times...He called a great game. The thing is he was probably the most excited guy in the clubhouse, and I'm happy for that. He's come a long way." The last batter of the game was pinch-hitter Eddie Pérez, who was struck out on a 98 miles per hour (158 km/h) fastball. Johnson struck out 13 batters in the game, the third-highest strikeout count in an MLB perfect game behind Sandy Koufax's 14 Ks in 1965 and Matt Cain's 14 Ks in 2012. The perfect game was Johnson's second no-hitter, the first in 1990 on the Seattle Mariners. Johnson's perfect game was the first in the MLB since David Cone on July 18, 1999 for the New York Yankees, and the first in the National League since Dennis Martínez of the Montreal Expos on July 28, 1991. Johnson, who was 40 at the time, surpassed Cy Young as the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game in MLB history. Young, who achieved the feat in 1904, was 37 at the time.
-Johnny Estrada's first at-bat in the second inning was the longest of the night, requiring 10 pitches before striking out swinging on the 11th pitch. It was the only Braves at-bat that reached three balls in the count.
-Veteran Chipper Jones struck out all three times.
-The play that came closest to a hit was Mike Hampton's second at-bat in the sixth inning when a chop ground ball dribbling left of the second base bag resulted in Alex Cintrón performing a do-or-die running grab and throw to the first baseman, Shea Hillenbrand for the out.
|Arizona Diamondbacks (15-23)||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||8||0|
|Atlanta Braves (17-20)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|WP: Randy Johnson (4-4) LP: Mike Hampton (0-5)|
Every time you catch [Johnson], you feel that something like this has a chance to happen...He's so intense, and it's something he has out there on the mound that makes me that much better.
I was part of two no-hitters, one against [the Milwaukee Brewers] by Kansas City and Steve Busby and one for us against Baltimore with Juan Nieves. But to see Randy do it was even more remarkable because he's had such an incredible career.
Steve Finley and I were part of a no-hitter that Darryl Kile threw when we were all in Houston. But there's no doubt that for Randy to be out there pitching like that -- well, nothing can compare to Randy.
This is one of those nights where a superior athlete was on top of his game. There was a tremendous rhythm out there. His focus, his concentration, his stuff, everything was as good as it could possibly be.