Dewayne Wise's great catch preserves Mark Buehrle's perfect game
Strategically playing in, center fielder has to sprint out to take away homer
White Sox center fielder Dewayne Wise saves Mark Buehrle's perfect game by stealing a home run from Tampa Bay's Gabe Kapler in the ninth inning. (Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez / July 23, 2009)
He might want to purchase a special gift for Dewayne Wise after Wise made the most dramatic catch of his career in the ninth inning Thursday to preserve Buehrle's perfect game in the 5-0 victory over the Rays.
"This one will probably be a lot more expensive," Buehrle said after Wise robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run that would have ruined Buehrle's signature moment.
Wise had been inserted into center field for defensive purposes in the top of the ninth before Kapler launched a drive to left-center. Wise had played in because he didn't want Buehrle to lose his perfect bid on a bloop hit or broken-bat single.
"Right away, I took my eyes off it because I wanted to make up some ground," Wise said. "But I looked up and said, 'Wow, this might be one of those plays where I have to run through the wall to catch it or try to rob a home run.' "
Wise leaped over the fence to make the catch as he hit the wall, then the ball came out of his glove for a moment as he started falling. But he grabbed it quickly with his bare hand before hitting the warning track.
"I couldn't really feel it going into my glove, so I thought it was falling," Wise said. "I saw it slowly rolling out of my glove, and that's when I stuck my left hand out there and caught it."
Wise found some amusement that the first play came to him after he was inserted and Scott Podsednik was moved from center to left field in place of Carlos Quentin.
"I told myself, 'As soon as a guy goes out late for defense, that ball always finds you,' and I knew it would come down to me making a play," Wise said. "I didn't know it would be the first batter."
Wise said Buehrle gave him a big hug and thanked him.
"That's all that matters," Wise said.
And a check?
"If that's what he wants to do," he said, "I'll accept it."
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