Stewart recalls brush with perfection

Stewart recalls brush with perfection

OAKLAND -- Philip Humber's perfect game Saturday against the Mariners, the 21st in Major League Baseball history, reminded White Sox reliever Zach Stewart of his own brush with perfection in 2011.

Stewart fired seven perfect innings against the Twins at Target Field on Sept. 5, before Danny Valencia opened the eighth with a double to right. Valencia's extra-base hit was the only baserunner all game against Stewart, and he still remembers the air being let out of the balloon when Valencia's shot fell in safely.

"It was a little letdown, but at the same time I didn't want to give up," said Stewart, who moved from September starter last season to long reliever this year. "I wanted to at least finish the complete game and get the win and everything and the shutout.

"I wanted to do it, but at the same time, just being that deep in a big league ballgame for the first time for me, I was excited as well."

During the course of the perfect game attempt, Stewart remembers trying to keep things as normal as possible and talking with teammates. He never threw a perfect game or a no-hitter at the Minor League level, so he wasn't really sure how to deal with the situation.

"You obviously have to take it one pitch at a time. You can't really explain it because it's something you can't really prepare for," Stewart said. "I'm used to giving up a hit in the first couple of innings because I'm such a contact pitcher."