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Buehrle never dreamed of perfection

Buehrle never dreamed of perfection

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CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle joined some elite company when he hurled a perfect game against the Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday.

The feat marked the 17th no-hitter in franchise history and just the second perfect game, last accomplished by Charles Robertson on April 30, 1922, in Detroit.

It's been a stellar season for Buehrle, who also pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game on July 14 and smacked his first career home run on June 14 against the Brewers. Not to mention that Thursday's perfect game was the second no-hitter of his career.

And Buehrle can't believe it.

"I still can't," he said. "I mean, the no-hitter, I don't know how to explain it. I never thought I'd throw a no-hitter, I never thought I'd throw a perfect game, I never thought I'd hit a home run. Never say never in this game because crazy stuff can happen."

Randy Johnson is the only other active Major Leaguer to have thrown multiple no-hitters, and he became the 24th pitcher to do so. The Big Unit was also the last pitcher to throw a perfect game, which he did back on May 18, 2004, for the Diamondbacks.

"I was just trying to take it one batter at a time, pitch by pitch," Buehrle said. "I think if you start thinking about that, telling yourself you have a no-hitter, perfect game, whatever, you're going to worry about messing up a pitch or making a mistake. Just go out there and try not to think about it, have fun."

Thursday was the third time Buehrle faced the minimum number of batters in a game, and the 48th time in his career that he retired 10 or more batters in a row.

While a perfect game is arguably the best achievement a pitcher can reach, Buehrle ranks his Thursday start behind the team's 2005 World Series, in terms of career goals.

"Obviously the World Series is the ultimate goal," Buehrle said. "That's going to be up on top. On a personal [level], I've always said I want to win a Gold Glove, because I take pride in my defense. But a perfect game, no-hitter, I don't even know if I ranked those in the top five because I didn't think they would ever happen. But they rank right up there as far as personal goals.

"I keep on saying I'm never going to say never in this game, because I've said it plenty of times and I've done a lot of stuff I never thought I'd do. But this wasn't even thought of in the back of my mind -- throwing a perfect game -- because I didn't think it would ever happen."

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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