His struggles to do so are what weigh on him now. That perfect game is over. Now he's just trying to finish with a strong season. Friday's 6-3 Tigers loss didn't help.
This wasn't about Galarraga being denied history June 2 after what should've been 27 straight batters retired. This was about Galarraga not getting a win out of seven quality innings.
"I felt good. I just want to get a win," Galarraga said. "The season's almost over, and I have four wins. It's not like I think I don't throw the ball good. I've been throwing the ball good.
"You see my numbers. There's only four wins. What are you going to say? I already have 100-something innings. Four wins the whole year? Sometimes you get frustrated, because you want to see more wins."
He has 122 2/3 innings over 20 Major League starts this year, to be exact, including 17 starts since he retired the first 26 Indians batters he faced on June 2. He has two victories since that famous game. He has no-decisions in six quality starts in that stretch, including three of his past four outings.
Galarraga has a 2.01 ERA over his past five starts, but one win and four no-decisions to show for it. That's proving tougher for him to get past than Joyce's call three months ago.
"I feel good," Galarraga said. "Sometimes I don't get run support, but there isn't anything you can do about it. I've had that feeling for the last four starts. You know when you've got like two or three runs, you say, 'I'll try to keep the game at that, because I don't have run support too much.'"
He held the Orioles to three runs over seven innings Friday, which kept Detroit in a tie game heading into the eighth. It almost certainly should've been a Tigers lead at that point, given Austin Jackson's triple leading off the bottom of the seventh. Once O's reliever David Hernandez stranded him there, Galarraga's chance at a victory -- and Detroit's best chance to take over this game -- was gone.
"You can't win games up here playing the way we played tonight," manager Jim Leyland said. "We just didn't play a good ballgame. Galarraga was good. I thought he pitched well. But we just had opportunities that if we put a ball in play, we've probably got the lead late. But we didn't do it tonight."
Galarraga's run at another perfect game ended with Luke Scott's leadoff single and run in the second inning. Jake Fox's two-run homer put Baltimore ahead in the fifth, before Miguel Cabrera tied the game with his own two-run shot in the sixth.
Cabrera, who returned to the Tigers lineup after missing the previous two games with tendinitis in his left shoulder, went 2-for-4 and drove in all three Tigers runs. After Johnny Damon took advantage of a Matt Wieters error on a foul ball to draw a leadoff walk, Cabrera sent a Kevin Millwood pitch out on a line drive to the bullpen dugout beyond the left-field fence for his 34th home run of the season and 113th RBI.
"He threw me a lot of good pitches today," Cabrera said of Millwood. "He didn't give me anything. But that pitch, I think he slipped when he threw the ball. So it was almost in the middle. I was lucky there, because I know what kind of pitch to hit out."
The O's wisely didn't give Cabrera a chance to put Detroit in front an inning later with Jackson on third. Hernandez struck out Will Rhymes chasing a pitch for the first out, then jammed Damon into a popup to short to end the sacrifice fly opportunity. Cabrera's 30th intentional walk of the season put another potential run on base, but Hernandez's three-pitch strikeout of Ryan Raburn took him off.
"It was a big swing in the game," Hernandez (6-8) said. "You give up a run and they have their eighth-, ninth-inning [relievers] coming in. More often than not, those guys come in and close the door on any team. To hold them scoreless then we get two runs in the bottom of the inning, it was deflating for Detroit."
Baltimore's game-winning rally, by contrast, was a display in conversion after Ty Wigginton slammed a comebacker off reliever Phil Coke's right foot for a one-out single. Coke shook off the blow and stayed in the game, but Nick Markakis shot Coke's next pitch through the middle to put runners at the corners with one out.
It also gave Wieters his chance at redemption with a sac fly to the warning track in right after the Tigers intentionally walked Luke Scott to face him.
"He just got under the ball," said Coke (7-5). "I mean, he had a decent swing at it, but he got enough of the barrel on it to get it out where he got it to. I mean, it was down, it was away from him, and he just flicked his wrists at it. That happens."
Galarraga just wishes results like these wouldn't keep happening to him.
"I understand it's out of my control," he said. "I can't control that. I can only control being on the mound, throwing innings, having a good game and getting better and better."