Kepner: Rich Hill’s gem all the more rare for its flaw

From SABR member Tyler Kepner at the New York Times on August 24, 2017:

Some pitchers have thrown no-hitters, and a lucky few have authored perfect games. But you have to dig deep into baseball history to find an exquisitely agonizing performance to rival Rich Hill’s on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Hill, a left-hander for the Los Angeles Dodgers, lost a perfect game on an error in the ninth inning of a scoreless game. He went back to the mound for the 10th, after the Dodgers again failed to score, and lost the no-hitter and the game, 1-0, on a leadoff home run by the Pirates’ Josh Harrison.

Hill became the first pitcher in major league history to lose a no-hitter on a game-ending homer in extra innings — technically. Another no-hit bid, also involving the Pirates, ended when a ball cleared the outfield fence in the 13th inning, but the play was ultimately scored a double.

That was the famous game in 1959 when the Pirates’ Harvey Haddix twirled 12 perfect innings in a scoreless game against the Braves in Milwaukee. Haddix, like Hill, lost his perfect game on an error by the third baseman. In Haddix’s case, third baseman Don Hoak made a throwing error on Felix Mantilla’s leadoff grounder in the 13th. In Hill’s, Logan Forsythe botched a hard grounder by Jordy Mercer to lead off the ninth.

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Originally published: August 24, 2017. Last Updated: August 24, 2017.