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On This Date in Sports May 9, 2010: Perfection for Mother's Day

in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 

Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics has a Mother’s Day to remember, throwing a Perfect Game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletics win the game 4-0 at the Oakland Coliseum, as Braden had six strikeouts. His mother and grandmother had raised Dallas Braden in nearby Stockton. When he was in high school, his mother died from cancer, leaving just his grandmother, who attended the game. The two shared an emotional embrace after the game.

Dallas Braden was born on August 13, 1983, in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in Stockton, California, some 72 miles from the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. Growing up with his mother and grandmother, Braden was drafted in the 46th round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. However, after losing his mother to cancer while in his senior year at Stagg High School chose to stay home and pith at nearby American River College in Sacramento. After two years, he moved on to Texas Tech before Oakland drafted him in the 24th round of the 2004 draft. 

Dallas Braden made his debut with the Oakland A’s in 2007. He struggled much of his rookie season, posting a record of 1-8 with 6.72 ERA as he made just one start in AAA after starting the season in AA. In 2008, Braden split the season between AAA Sacramento and Oakland, posting a record of 5-4 with the Athletics. Dallas Braden was Oakland’s Opening Day starter in 2009 and had an 8-9 record with a 3.89 ERA.

In 2010, Dallas Braden continued to develop into a reliable pitcher as he won his first three decisions, including a 4-2 win over the New York Yankees on April 22nd. That game was memorable for an argument that Braden had with Alex Rodriguez. After a double play, A-Rod broke an unwritten rule walking across the mound to get back to the dugout, raising the ire of the Oakland pitcher. After losing two of his next three starts, Dallas Braden went into his Mother’s Day start with a record of 3-2.

Heading into the game at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, the Athletics managed by Bob Geren had a record of 16-15. The Tampa Bay Rays, meanwhile managed by Joe Maddon, were the best team in MLB through 30 games at 22-8. James Shields was 4-0 as he took the mound for Tampa on that Sunday in Oakland. 

Dallas Braden made quick work of the Rays in the first two innings, with one strikeout, as the Tampa Bay hitters had only made weak contact. The Athletics got their first run in the second inning as battery mate Landon Powell delivered his first RBI of the season with a single that scored Kevin Kouzmanoff, who led off the inning with a single. The A’s added to their lead in the third inning as Daric Barton scored on a base hit by Kouzmanoff.  Dallas Braden continued to frustrate the Tampa lineup, as they continued to make weak contact. The Athletics meanwhile added two more runs in the fourth inning as Daric Barton and Ryan Sweeney each had RBU singles, with Cliff Pennington and Barton each scoring to make it 4-0. 

With a 4-0 lead, the rest was up to Dallas Braden, who made the Rays look like they were swinging with wet newspapers. Once, twice through the lineup, the Rays had yet to get a man on base. The final trip through the lineup was much of the same as Braden had just six strikeouts. Heading into the ninth inning three outs from history, Braden got Willy Aybar to lineout to Barton at first. Dioner Navarro was the second out on a liner to left fielder Eric Patterson. The final batter was Gabe Kapler, who grounded out to Pennington to complete the Perfect Game. 

It was the 19th Perfect Game in the history of MLB, making Dallas Braden the toast of baseball. Following the game, the story of his mother and grandmother led to a poignant moment as he embraced his grandmother with tears in his eyes. Dallas Braden struggled following his Perfect Game, losing his next five decisions as he had an up and down season in 2010, posting a record of 11-14 with a 3.50 ERA. Trouble would crop up for the Athletics Left-Handed Pitcher in 2011, as Dallas Braden made just three starts, posting a 1-1 record before a torn capsule in his shoulder sidelined him. Braden would have surgery but never made it back to the mound, as his career came to an end. Today he works broadcast of Oakland A’s games, and for Barstool Sports with Starting 9 Podcast, as he looked back on the Perfect Game, Dallas Braden has confessed to being hungover from a night of drinking the day pf the Perfect Game.