Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill lost a no-hitter in the most painful way possible on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The first hit he allowed was a walk-off home run in the tenth inning.
Hill was on the mound for the Dodgers as they faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what was the third game of their four-game series. Pirates starter Trevor Williams went toe-to-toe with Hill for the first eight innings. Going into the ninth inning, neither pitcher had given up a run. The major difference between the two was that Hill had yet to allow a baserunner.
The perfect game almost ended in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell hit a hard line drive toward right field. Before it had the chance to land in the outfield for a base hit however, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley made an unbelievable full-extension catch.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers were unable to give Hill any run support. Despite having a perfect game heading into the ninth inning, he did not have a lead to protect. Hill had 10 strikeouts through eight innings of work. The first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning was Jordy Mercer, and he hit a ground ball toward third base that was bobbled by Logan Forsythe. This untimely error ended Hill’s chances of achieving one of the rarest feats in baseball.
Luckily, Hill retired the next three batters and got out of the ninth inning without allowing a hit. The Dodgers could not get anything going in the top of the tenth inning, so the game remained scoreless. With Hill’s no-hitter still intact, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not hesitate to send him back out to the mound. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the tenth inning. With one swing, he was able to give the Pirates their first hit of the game, as well as their first run. Harrison hit a ball to deep left field that just ended up making it over fence. Dodgers left fielder Curtis Granderson attempted to make a leaping grab and rob Harrison, but he came up short.
Hill lost his no-hitter in one of the most painful ways possible. He had a no-hitter going through the first nine innings, but had to keep pitching because his team could not give him any run support. As per ESPN Stats & Info, Hill is the first MLB pitcher in the last 100 seasons to go at least nine innings and allow one or fewer hits, not give up a walk, and still get a loss.
Rich Hill is the first pitcher in the last 100 seasons to throw at least 9 innings, allow 1 or fewer hits with no walks, and get a loss.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2017
It is a shame that Hill took a loss after pitching as well as he did. This loss probably will not affect the Dodgers that much in the long run, as they are 89-36 on the season and have a 21-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West. Hill is the one who will be most impacted by the result of the game, as he will most likely never come this close to a no-hitter ever again. For Hill, this game will always be considered the one that could have been.