Shelby has company in the no-so-close club
Right-hander came up one out short of tossing Braves' first no-hitter since 1994
If it seems as if no one could have tougher luck than Shelby Miller, who had his would-be no-hitter against the Marlins broken up by Justin Bour with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, a glimpse back into the history books reveals that Miller has plenty of company.
In fact, 11 pitchers have had perfect games spoiled with two outs in the ninth inning, according to Sports Illustrated's Cliff Corcoran.
The most gut-wrenching of those, perhaps, came on June 2, 2010, when the Tigers' Armando Galarraga retired the first 26 batters he faced before Jason Donald was incorrectly called safe for an infield single with two outs in the ninth inning. First-base umpire Jim Joyce later admitted his mistake and apologized for costing Galaragga what should have been a perfect game.
Just a little more than two months later, Toronto's Brandon Morrow experienced a similar fate when Evan Longoria snapped Morrow's no-hit bid with an infield single to second base -- though this one was the correct call. Morrow struck out the next batter, his 17th strikeout of the game, to finish off the shutout.
Going back a bit further, Curt Schilling had a no-hit bid snapped as a member of the Red Sox on a Shannon Stewart single with two outs in the ninth inning in a game against the A's on June 7, 2007. Prior to Stewart's hit, the only baserunner allowed by Schilling had come on an error in the fifth inning.
Perhaps, however, that was simply the price the Red Sox had to pay for ruining Mike Mussina's bid for perfrection in similar fashion six years earlier. Mussina, pitching for the rival Yankees, had retired all 26 Boston batters he had faced on Sept. 2, 2001, before Carl Everett lined a hit into left field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Roy Halladay, another one of that generation's top pitchers, didn't waste much time in making his first run at history. Making just his second career big league start, Halladay had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth when pinch-hitter Bobby Higginson launched a solo homer to left field.
Not to be deterred, of course, Halladay went on to throw a perfect game on May 29, 2010, and he followed it up with just the second no-hitter in postseason history when he held the Reds hitless in Game 1 of the National League Division Series that same year.
Circling back to other pitchers with tough-luck outcomes in would-be no-hitters, the list also includes Yankees right-hander Bill Bevens, who is the only pitcher to lose a no-no with two outs in the ninth inning of a postseason game, according to Baseball Round Table.
Dave Stieb famously had no-hitters ruined with one out remaining in back-to-back outings to finish the season in September 1988.
The Pirates' Harvey Haddix in 1959 retired the first 36 hitters he faced against the Milwaukee Braves to carry a perfect game into the 13th inning, but he was outdueled by Milwaukee's Lew Burdette, who threw a 13-inning, 12-hit shutout.
In 2013 alone, three pitchers -- Yu Darvish, Yusmeiro Petit and Michael Wacha -- had no-hitters broken up with two outs in the ninth.
Miller had walked a batter before Bour spoiled his historic outing on Sunday. It would have been the 15th no-hitter in Braves history and the first since Kent Mercker in 1994. Miller needed just 94 pitches to finish the complete game, striking out four and walking one.