Justin Germano put himself in the most exclusive company on Tuesday.
The Major League veteran pitched the first nine-inning perfect game in franchise history as the Triple-A Columbus Clippers blanked the Syracuse Chiefs, 3-0, at Alliance Bank Stadium.
Making just his fifth start for the Indians affiliate, Germano (1-2) threw 65 of 95 pitchesfor strikes and did not go to a three-ball count all night. He tied a season high with seven strikeouts, fanning Corey Brown for the final out.
"I was just throwing strikes with everything," Germano said. "I threw a lot of everything -- a lot of curves, fastballs and changeups did a good job to keep them off-balance."
The 28-year-old right-hander tossed the fifth nine-inning perfect game in International League history and first since Pawtucket's Bronson Arroyo retired all 27 Buffalo Bisons on Aug. 10, 2003.
"Early on, I made note of it because I didn't want to put extra pressure on myself," he said. "After the third, fourth or fifth inning -- when I was going three up, three down -- I just wanted to keep going after guys and see what happened. I told myself what's going to happen is predetermined. Just go out there and see what happens."
Taking the mound in the ninth, Germano wasn't thinking about his own nerves but those of his wife, Logan.
"I don't think I was as nervous as people would think," he said. "I wanted to keep my cool and not put myself in any stressful situation. I was just thinking how nervous my wife was; she was watching it on Gameday. When I got two outs, I just laughed, thinking she was freaking out right now."
The veteran of 79 big league games said he'd already spoken to his wife, but the enormity of what he accomplished had not sunk in for either of them.
After recording the first two outs in the ninth on five pitches, Germano was hoping he could get Brown to hit a ground ball. The strikeout became an exclamation point.
"When I did get to two strikes, I didn't want to make the perfect pitch and it just so happened to be a strikeout. It's the perfect way to end a no-hitter or perfect game," he said. "It's pretty cool."
The California native has excelled since entering the starting rotation, going 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA. In 10 relief appearances, he was 0-1 with three saves and a 5.85 ERA.
"Last year was my first year relieving and I think my heart is always going to be in starting," he admitted. "I grew to like the bullpen, but starting is definitely where I want to be and I hope I can stay."
Tim Fedroff was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and fell a homer shy of the cycle for Columbus, which has sent Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis to the Majors but owns the IL's best record and has a 10 1/2-game lead atop the Western Division. Paul Phillips also collected three hits and Cord Phelps doubled home the Clippers' other run.