(OKLAHOMA CITY) - In his 15th season in professional baseball, John Wasdin came within six outs of pitching a second career perfect game on a Monday afternoon in Oklahoma, with the temperature climbing toward 100°.
The 35-year old former Huntsville Stars hurler threw 65 of his 92 pitches for strikes to pitch the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to a 6-1 victory over the Oklahoma RedHawks at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The RedHawks are the top farm club of the Texas Rangers.
D'Angelo Jimenez drove in three runs for the St. Louis-affiliated Redbirds, including a 2-run homer off Tommy Hunter (1-2) in the 4th inning. David Freese went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles as the 'Birds banged out 11 hits.
Wasdin struck out 11 of the first 21 batters he faced, but his perfect game was dashed when Chris Shelton led off the 8th with his 5th home run of the season. Left fielder Ryan Roberts followed with a single to center and after a coaching visit, Wasdin was taken out of the game in favor of reliever Jason Motte, who retired all six hitters he faced.
Motte struck out five of them, giving the Redbirds 16 strikeouts totaled.
Every Oklahoma starter struck out at least once with hot-hitting former Huntsville Stars outfielder Nelson Cruz fanning three times.
Wasdin (7-6), who pitched for 7 different major league teams in 12 seasons, was an emergency starter after Mitchell Boggs was summoned to St. Louis prior to the game.
Wasdin, in his 2nd season of professional ball, led the Huntsville Stars to a Southern League championship in 1994 with a 12-3 record and 3.43 ERA. As a member of the Pittsburgh-affiliated Nashville Sounds on April 7, 2003, he pitched a perfect game against Albuquerque.
Monday's start was his first since April 26th.