In what is an already special season, the Dodgers’ Rich Hill came close to making history tonight. But it ended bizarrely with Hill losing the no-hitter in the 10th.
Rich Hill came close to throwing just the second perfect game in Dodgers‘ history….but he still took the loss. Sandy Koufax threw the last one back in 1965. Hill actually came close last year when he threw 7 perfect innings against the Marlins but was pulled after 89 pitches and bullpen blew it from there.
Hill was on his game tonight and was in control the whole game. Through the first nine innings, he had ten strikeouts with zero hits and walks. The only baserunner he allowed was an error to Jody Mercer to lead off the bottom of the ninth.
Mercer smashed a ball to third which ate up Logan Forsythe but was ruled an error. The error is reminiscent of Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter back in 2014 when Hanley Ramirez committed a mistake in the seventh inning to ruin what was a perfect game at the time. However, Kershaw “settled” for the no-hitter.
So you would think we’d all be celebrating the 26th no-hitter in Dodgers history. However, Hill did not have the same storybook ending.
He pitched into the tenth…yes the tenth…and gave up a leadoff walk-off home run to Josh Harrison. How often do you hear a starter lost his no-hitter in the 10th?
It’s the first time a no-hit bid was broken up by a walk-off home run. So his final line? 99 pitches, nine innings, one hit, zero walks, one earned run, ten strikeouts and the loss. Doesn’t get much more bizarre than this. No-hitter to losing pitcher on one pitch. Just wow.
This game further proves how useless a pitcher’s win-loss record is.
The beauty of his game was the efficiency in which he pitched. He needed just 95 pitches to complete nine innings, and a ridiculous 73 of them were strikes.
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This is the Rich Hill the Dodgers were expecting when they re-signed the 37-year-old in the offseason: utterly dominant. He was making the Pirate hitters look silly today, with his superb mix of speeds and pitches.
Even though his fastball sits between 89mph-91mph, the Pirates hitters made it look like high to mid 90’s because of his excellent curveball. The curveball was as good as it’s ever been for him and it was the perfect compliment to his fastball.
This was Hill’s first complete game in the NL since 2006.
The Dodgers’ offense was the main culprit tonight as they were dormant all night. They had eight hits and left 11 guys on base.
The game had its fair share of defensive gems. Adrian Gonzalez made a highlight reel sliding snag off a Josh Harrison bunt in the fourth, reminding us of the days of his four Gold Gloves. And Chase Utley in the eighth made a leaping catch at full stretch to his left; a play which words won’t do justice for. Just a ridiculous catch which makes Agon’s play look pedestrian (it was that special from the Silver Fox).
It didn’t get to this point but fun facts. The last time someone completed ten innings and didn’t get a decision was Cliff Lee back in 2012 against the Giants. The Giants walked-off in the 11th. The last 10-inning complete game was from the great Roy Halladay back in 2003. And the last 10-inning no-hitter was back in 1965.
Again, a game doesn’t get any more bizarre than this from the pitching side of things. Even though it ended in a loss, all we can be is in shock and awe and appreciate Hill’s effort.