Runge has another front-row seat for history
Barrett first Major League ump to work plate in two perfect games
Brian Runge had a front-row seat as the Giants' Joaquin Arias gathered Jason Castro's grounder and fired a dart to first to seal Matt Cain's perfect game in 10-0 win over the Astros on Wednesday night.
The umpire, positioned at third base for Wednesday's historic contest, has had a knack for being on the right field at the right time this season.
Runge witnessed his third no-hitter of the season, after he served as home-plate umpire for White Sox hurler Philip Humber's perfect game in Seattle on April 21 and the Mariners' six-pitcher no-hitter against the Dodgers on Friday.
"I was actually more nervous tonight at third base than I was during the perfect game and the no-hitter being behind the plate," Runge admitted.
A third-generation umpire, Runge has worked in Major League Baseball since 1999. He admitted he didn't even realize the Mariners were working on a no-hitter against the Dodgers once starter Kevin Millwood departed after six innings with a mild right groin injury.
"[Humber's] perfect game I was a wreck, but I gave up on this [no-hitter] when Millwood went out," Runge said. "I was just umpiring the game, in a zone. I didn't realize it until we got in [the clubhouse] and started talking about it."
Oddly enough, Runge also called balls and strikes for the previous no-hitter in Giants history, a gem tossed by southpaw Jonathan Sanchez in 2009.
Runge wasn't the only umpire from Wednesday's contest who made history. Home-plate umpire Ted Barrett became the first ump in Major League history to call balls and strikes for two perfect games. Barrett also called Yankees right-hander David Cone's perfecto against the Expos in 1999.
Once again behind the plate for history, Barrett was right in thick of Cain's performance, which he noted for the right-hander's overall command and control.
"[Cain's] location was, he could put the ball anywhere he wanted. You could tell the two of them were in sync," Barrett said.
Barrett acknowledged that as an umpire, he is often quick to get a feel for when a pitcher could be on the verge of a very special night and how big plays can often catapult such performances.
"As the game goes on, you look up on the board and you see zero hits," Barrett said. "You see the guy's facing the minimum, throwing the ball really well and hitting his spots. There's been a lot of times I've thought, 'Man this guy could be unhittable tonight.'
"There's been a lot of times I've seen guys with great stuff but they don't get the no-hitter. I think when people start making great plays, the diving plays, you start thinking, 'OK maybe he could.' ... It's such a rare feat, but sometimes you think 'this guy's got a shot."
Barrett served as the third-base umpire during Humber's perfect game. Barrett also called Angels righty Ervin Santana's no-hitter in Cleveland last July.
Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. MLB.com reporter Jon Star also contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.