Updated Aug 16, 2012 - 10:09 am
Jaso reflects on catching perfect game
Mariners catcher John Jaso says everything Felix Hernandez threw in his perfect game was "nasty" (AP image)
By Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Felix Hernandez' perfect game was a first for the Mariners, and also catcher John Jaso, who says the feeling of being on the receiving end was right up there with any championship he's ever won.
"You know I paused there for a second because I couldn't believe it just happened," Jaso told the Kevin Calabro Show about the moment after catching the final strike to seal the perfect game.
Jaso says he knew from the start of the game Hernandez was poised for a stellar performance, especially after striking out Tampa all-star Evan Longoria with a nasty curve ball in the first inning.
"Everything that came out of his hand was nasty," Jaso says.
The catcher says Hernandez got stronger as the game went along, and hitters didn't stand a chance as he mowed through the Tampa lineup. By the time he struck out the side in the 8th inning, Jaso says he had little doubt Hernandez could pull off the rare feat.
"You don't want to play the guessing game as a hitter but it's hard with the curveball coming in like that ...especially when don't know what's coming out of his hand. I mean he could have went with two other pitches right there to get the strikeout," he says about another nasty curveball that buckled Longoria.
Jaso says while some of the position players might have been feeling pressure out in the field, he remained relaxed in part because he had plenty to keep his mind occupied throughout the game, and because Tampa was unable to get the bat on the ball with the exception of a hard hit shot to start the game.
"There was really nothing that was alarming, no scalded balls to the outfield. He was pretty much in control throughout the game."
For Jaso, the final strike was as big as any moment in his career.
"I've been there so many times and it just shows how hard it is to get this perfect game. It's just unbelievable. I'm so happy and feel so blessed I was a part of it today."
Follow Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
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