Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill, three outs and one run from baseball history, instead suffered the game’s ultimate indignity – a walk-off loss.
Hill, three outs from throwing the major leagues’ first perfect game since 2012 – and the first by a Dodger since Sandy Koufax in 1965 – instead settled for nine no-hit innings due to an error.
Then, forced to pitch a 10th inning because the Dodgers could not score a run, Hill gave up a leadoff home run to Josh Harrison, dealing the Dodgers a stunning 1-0 defeat at PNC Park.
It was the first no-hitter that ended on an extra-inning walk-off home run – although a baserunning blunder prevented Pittsburgh’s Harvey Haddix from a similar fate in the 13th inning of a 1959 game.
Box score: Pirates 1, Dodgers 0 (10 innings)
Entering the bottom of the ninth, all 24 Pirates had been retired, 10 by strikeout.
But Jordy Mercer’s hard smash right at third baseman Logan Forsythe bounced off Forsythe’s glove, and the perfect game was gone.
And Hill became the first pitcher in major league history to lose a perfect game on a ninth-inning error, according to the Society of American Baseball Research.
It’s the second time in 11 months Hill lost a bid for perfection in unique circumstances. The first game on Sept. 10, when he threw seven perfect innings against the Miami Marlins, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts – who admitted he was gutted by the decision – lifted Hill because the lefty had recently returned from a bout with blisters.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners was the last pitcher to throw a perfect game, doing so against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 15, 2012.
Hill appeared to give up an infield single to Josh Bell in the third inning, but the safe call was overturned when replay showed Hill made the tag before Bell touched first base. And Chase Utley made a phenomenal diving catch of Josh Bell’s screaming line drive in the eighth inning.
After both teams were held scoreless in the ninth, Hill was at 91 pitches. Roberts let him pitch the 10th.
And in one swing, Hill ended up on the wrong side of history.
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