Pawtucket's Ohka pitches perfect game

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - Tomo Ohka became the third pitcher in the 117-year history of the International League to throw a nine-inning perfect game last night as Pawtucket beat Charlotte 2-0.

The 24-year-old Japanese right-hander needed just 77 pitches - 59 of which were strikes - to complete the first perfect game in Pawtucket history.

"I've never come close to anything like this," Ohka said through an interpreter. "But when I realized what was starting to happen, I concentrated more on trying to win the game for the team.

"When the game ended, the first thing that went through my mind was `I did it!' "

Ohka (5-5) didn't go to as many as three balls on a single Knights hitter and went to two balls just twice. He had eight strikeouts.

"I tried to keep my emotions under control and to stay calm," Ohka said. "I wasn't overwhelmed by the situation . . . I treated it just like any other game."

Ohka was the Boston Red Sox's minor-league player of the year last season, going 8-0 for Class AA Trenton and 7-0 for Pawtucket. He was 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in 12 games for Boston.

"He got a lot of outs early in the count and we swung at a lot of borderline pitches," Charlotte's McKay Christensen said. "He threw a lot of well-placed fastballs and a tough slider."

Izzy Alcantara homered in the fourth, and Pawtucket added a run in the eighth on a wild pitch.