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Jim Joyce blows call and ruins Armando Galarraga's perfect game

Move over, Don Denkinger. There's a new sheriff in town.

Fabforum Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga fell one batter shy of perfection, at least according to first-base umpire Jim Joyce.

The Tigers led the Cleveland Indians, 3-0, with two out in the ninth inning when Jason Donald hit a grounder to first base. Replays showed that Galarraga, covering at first, got the throw from Miguel Cabrera and touched the base a stride ahead of Donald, but Joyce inexplicably called Donald safe. Galarraga retired the next batter for a one-hitter that should have been perfect.

The fans in Detroit booed Joyce throughout the final at-bat. Some free advice: Shave your mustache and get out of town as soon as possible.

To his credit, Joyce apologized after the game and admitted he blew the call.

"I just cost that kid a perfect game," Joyce said. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay."

Tigers Manager Jim Leyland immediately argued the call and was joined by several of his players after the final out. Galarraga was trying to pitch the third perfect game in the majors this season.

Joyce faced a group of hostile Tigers -- led by Leyland -- between the pitching mound and home plate after the final out and was booed lustily by the crowd of 17,738 as he walked off the field.

"I don't blame them a bit or anything that was said," Joyce said. "I would've said it myself if I had been Galarraga. I would've been the first person in my face, and he never said a word to me."

We will have more on this later at latimes.com/sports.

-- Houston Mitchell

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Armando Galarraga walks away from umpire Jim Joyce after the blown call in the ninth inning. Credit: AP.

 
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