In over 210,000 games of Major League Baseball, there have only been 23 perfect games, and fans haven’t seen one since Felix Hernandez in 2012.
On Wednesday night, it felt like the Dodgers Rich Hill was going to be No. 24. The Dodgers have been rolling with one of the best regular-season stretches in MLB history, and Hill was rolling on Wednesday night, perfect through seven innings with the game still tied 0-0.
In the eighth inning Josh Bell hit a shot toward second base that for a moment felt like the end of Hill’s pursuit of perfection, only for Chase Utley to make one of the best catches of the year to preserve the potential feat.
At this point, it felt like perfection was written in the cards for Hill. But in the ninth inning, things would sadly begin to fall apart.
An error by third baseman Logan Forsythe allowed the Pirates their first baserunner of the game and broke up Hill’s chance at the history books. But he still had a no-hitter going, and was able to get out of the inning and send the game to extra innings still tied at zero.
The Dodgers would again fail to put up a run in the top of the tenth, and Hill, with only 95 pitches thrown, took the mound again in the tenth to see if he could keep the magic going and maybe become one of the few men in history to throw an extra-inning no-hitter. Unfortunately, Josh Harrison, the first batter he faced, sent a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence just out of reach of Curtis Granderson.
Rich Hill would finish the game with a line of 9.0 innings pitched, 10 strikeouts, 1 hit, 1 run… and a loss.
It’s still an impressive line, but when you consider how close he was to perfection, it’s tough to imagine a worse way to lose. Instead of going down in history as the 24th pitcher to ever be perfect in the majors, he made a much more unfortunate historical stat. According to baseball statistician Ryan Spaeder, Rich Hill is the first pitcher in history to lose a no-hitter on a walk-off home run.
The Dodgers and Pirates will face off again on Thursday.
Rich Hill…still perfect.
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