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Dee Gordon appears to have beaten throw in Mariners’ no-hitter (Picture)

The Mariners used six pitchers to no-hit the Dodgers in Seattle on Friday for the 10th combined no-hitter in MLB history. Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelm came in to pitch the 9th to save the 1-0 game, and his inning involved a controversy.

Dodgers shortstop and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon was the first batter of the inning, and he was called out on a close play at first. Gordon was jammed and hit a broken-bat flare to shortstop Brendan Ryan who threw onto first. It was a bang-bang play at the bag, the kind where the “tie goes to the runner” rule generally applies, but Gordon was called out.

In the screencap above, it appears as if Gordon’s foot touched the bag just before the ball arrived in first baseman Justin Smoak’s mitt.

While I don’t believe in rules being bent or favors being done so pitchers can achieve milestones like no-hitters and perfect games, I will say that if the Dodgers needed a broken-bat infield flare to get their first hit, they deserved to be embarrassed.

The no-hitter was the third in Mariners’ history, and first time the Dodgers were no-hit since 1994.

Johan Santana gets Mets first no-hitter ever with help from blown call, Mike Baxter

Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets franchise history on Friday in an 8-0 win over the Cardinals. Santana threw 133 pitches and walked five batters, but he managed to no-hit the best offense in the National League.

Although he didn’t allow any hits, Santana’s game was far from perfect. In addition to the five walks, he got some help on an umpire’s blown call, and a teammate’s great catch.

First up was a line drive down the third base line from Carlos Beltran in the sixth that was ruled foul by umpire Adrian Johnson, although replays showed it hit the chalk and therefore should have been ruled fair:

Though he didn’t see the Beltran play, he knows he got some assistance.

“There are times when one play makes the whole difference, one call makes the whole difference. If that was the case, tonight [the Beltran ball] was the call.”

In addition to the umpire’s mistake, Santana benefited from a great play in the seventh. Left fielder Mike Baxter crashed into the left-field wall chasing down a Yadier Molina fly ball:

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Minor Leaguer Luis Mendoza Has No-Hitter Taken Away Two Days Later

Imagine you were a pitcher. Now, imagine you had a no-hitter going into the ninth and a ball was ripped to left field, bouncing off the left fielder’s glove. Now, imagine said play was ruled an error even though it looked like a hit, keeping your no-hitter intact. Next, imagine the official scorer overturning his initial ruling and scoring the play a hit, leaving you an inning short of the no-no. And finally, imagine the official taking two full days to decide to overturn the play.

Was that a roller coaster of emotion or what? For Kansas City Royals minor leaguer Luis Mendoza, that roller coaster was a reality.  Mendoza took a no-hitter into the ninth inning on Monday when his teammate, David Lough, was ruled to have made a welcomed error on a ball hit to left.  You can see a video of the play here.

To me, that is clearly a double.  Had Lough caught the ball it would have been a tremendous play.  That doesn’t excuse John Guinozzo, the Memphis scorekeeper, from making the wrong call and taking two days to correct it.  In addition, I know no team wants to be no-hit but did Memphis really need to request a review after the fact?  It’s over, the other guy caught a break, let it go.  At least when an umpire blew Armando Galarraga’s no-hitter he did it instantly.

Tough to Be Brandon Morrow

There’s nothing worse than losing a no-hitter or perfect game with two out in the 9th.  When it happens at the hands of a seeing-eye ground ball, it’s even more painful.  When it happens because the umpire blows a call, it’s excruciating.  Unfortunately for Torono Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow, a hit is a hit and you can’t give a player an error when they fail to make a spectacular play that would have preserved your no-no.  Check out the video of Brandon Morrow’s no-hitter broken up with two out in the ninth, courtesy of YouTube user xKevTiffx:

I’ve already heard rumblings of Aaron Hill “blowing it” and how the scorekeepers should have ruled it an error, but let’s not be ridiculous.  Could Hill have made the play?  He’s probably capable of it, yeah.  But he didn’t in this particular instance and it would have been a great one if he did.  At least Morrow can still hang his hat on 17 strikeouts in nine innings.

Video Credit: YouTube user xKevTiffx

Tigers Injuries Assisted in No-Hitter

This season in baseball has already been termed the “Year of the Pitcher” for excellent reason. Edwin Jackson and Ubaldo Jimenez both have thrown no-hitters, Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden tossed perfect games, and Armando Galarraga had a 28 out perfect game. Matt Garza joined the party by no-hitting the Tigers on Monday night, becoming the fifth pitcher of the season to complete the task. While I do not want to diminish Garza’s accomplishment, I would like to point out that several recent injuries to the Detroit Tigers offense eased Garza’s burden.

In the span of a week, the Tigers lost third baseman Brandon Inge, right fielder Magglio Ordonez, and second baseman Carlos Guillen to injuries. Inge broken his hand getting hit by a pitch last Monday, Ordonez broken his ankle sliding into home on Saturday, and Guillen strained his calf on Saturday. The Tigers still had triple crown contender Miguel Cabrera batting cleanup on Monday, rookie of the Year candidate Brennan Boesch batting fifth, Johnny Damon hitting third, and Austin Jackson leading off, but the lineup was certainly less challenging than when healthy. The Tigers had a rookie without a hit in his career in the lineup, as well as three other hitters batting .206 or worse.

Matt Garza is an above average pitcher with good stuff who threw six scoreless innings two starts prior to the no-hitter. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in April and he helped pitch the Rays to the World Series in 2008. He’s always had the type of stuff to throw a no-hitter, but there’s no doubt that the recent injuries in Detroit resulted in the Tigers running out a weakened lineup. Rather than this being a commentary on Garza’s outing, maybe this is more of an indication of how the final two months of the season will go for the injury-depleted Tigers.

Photo Credit: AP/Mike Carlson

Ubaldo Jimenez Throws Colorado’s First No-Hitter

It took the Colorado Rockies franchise 18 years to experience one of the most exciting moments in professional baseball — 9 innings of no-hit baseball.  With a fastball that topped out in the high 90′s the entire game, Ubaldo Jimenez became the first Rockies pitcher ever to record a no-hitter when he defeated the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.  Despite six walks through the first five innings, Jimenez was able to go the distance and keep his pitch count to a modest 128, retiring the last 15 Braves hitters he faced.  The secret?  Pitching exclusively from the stretch from the fifth inning on:

In the fifth inning [pitching coach] Bob Apodaca, he just came to me and was like ‘You’ve been throwing good from the stretch, why don’t you just give it a try?’”

The advice was well-taken, as Jimenez settled in and steamrolled through the final five innings and cemented his place in the MLB record book.  Like almost every no-hitter or perfect game, Jimenez got a little help from his defense.  While probably not as impressive as DeWayne Wise’s wall-leaping snag to preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game for the White Sox last season, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler covered some serious ground to keep his hurler’s no-hitter in tact in the seventh inning.  Check out the video of Fowler’s catch, courtesy of Every Joe via YouTube:

Sources:
Jimenez dominates Braves for first no-hitter in Rockies’ history [AP recap]
Video: Dexter Fowler Catch Saves No-Hitter [Knuckle Curve]

Jon Lester and Fluke No-Hitters

I feel as if I’m not allowed to say anything negative about the guy because he overcame cancer. I mean no ill-will towards Jon Lester, and I certainly respect him for having dealt with such a severe issue and making it to the major leagues where he’s even won a Game 7 in the World Series. But I’ll judge him like any other pitcher, because that’s exactly what he is. And while throwing a no-hitter in the Majors is no small feat, I still don’t think too highly of Lester’s longterm prospects, though he clearly has the propensity to dominate in single games. So with that in mind, I would like to present some of the biggest fluke no-hitters in the history of the game. After all, in 10 years, I expect Lester’s name to be on the list. Joe Sports Fan essentially did the same thing a month ago so I’m taking a lot of their work here.

    Jose Jimenez – a career record of 24-44, he spent most of his short career as a reliever for the Rockies. Still, he was good enough to turn the trick for the Cardinals against the D-Backs in ’99.
    Bud Smith – One of the shortest shelf lives ever, Bud threw a no-no against the Padres for the Cardinals, and only managed to last one more year in the bigs. At least the Card parlayed him into Scott Rolen at the trade deadline.
    Astros, Party of six – It’s just strange to see such a good hitting team like the Yankees get no-hit by not just one pitcher, but a combination of six different arms including the likes of Peter Munro and Kirk Saarloos.
    Hideo Nomo (at Coors) – In the middle of Coors’ heyday and the Blake Street Bombers, Nomo did the unthinkable throwing a no-hitter for the Dodgers in Denver. Probably won’t ever be done again. He proved it wasn’t a fluke by throwing another one later in his career.
    Anibal Sanchez – He threw one for the Marlins while I was having a fantasy football draft in September two years ago. While he certainly had good stuff, injuries have kept him down, and you probably won’t remember this name in five years.
    Jon Lester – Dominated a Royals team in ’08, allowing just two base runners. In 10 years, he’ll be just a note in Red Sox history. Or at least that’s my guess.

There are plenty more on the list, so feel free to add one if you can think of it. And as rare as the accomplishment is in history, there’s definitely proof that you don’t have to be an exceptional pitcher to make it happen. You just have to be exceptional on one given day.