Clayton Kershaw came THIS close to perfection -- here are 10 pitchers who did too
10 pitchers who came THIS close to perfection
Clayton Kershaw threw a spectacular no-hitter on Wednesday, striking out 15 and throwing only 107 pitches as the Dodgers topped the Rockies 8-0. Kershaw's game score of 102 was second highest all-time for a nine-inning game, only falling short of Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout, one-hit gem in 1998 (Wood also balked, for what that's worth).
The only thing keeping Kershaw's no-no from perfection was a Hanley Ramirez throwing error in the seventh inning. To help Kershaw get through this tough emotional time, we've rounded up some other pitchers who might be able to console the Dodgers hurler. Consider it a support group for pitchers who came so close to perfection that they could taste it, only to have it evaporate at the last second.
Pedro Martinez - 9/10/1999 - In one of the greatest pitching performances in baseball history, Pedro Martinez notched 17 strikeouts against a Yankees team that hit .282 on their way to 98 wins and another World Series. Were it not for a single pitch that Chili Davis put into the bleachers, Pedro's performance would have qualified as a shutout, a no-no and a perfect game.
Mike Mussina - 9/2/2001 - Nearly two years to the day after Pedro's impressive showing, the Yankees and Red Sox met for another near-historic performance as Mike Mussina needed 116 pitches to strike out 13 Red Sox. Mussina took a perfect game into the ninth before inducing a Troy O'Leary groundout and sitting Lou Merloni down on strikes. Then, he had two strikes on pinch-hitter Carl Everett before Everett singled to bust up the no-no and the perfect game.
Milt Wilcox - 4/15/1983 - The Tigers blanked the White Sox as Milt Wilcox tossed an absolute gem. He started the day by retiring 26 consecutive batters only to let Jerry Hairston notch a pinch-hit single and spoil perfection at the very end.
Milt Pappas - 9/2/1973 - Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas cost himself a perfect game by walking Larry Stahl of the Padres with two outs in the ninth inning. He closed out the no-hitter, but is definitely still less than thrilled about surrendering that walk.
Yu Darvish - 4/2/2013 - The Rangers ace got the nod on Opening Day in 2013 and started the season off on the right foot, retiring 26 consecutive batters before Astros infielder Marwin Gonzalez slapped a single to center, canceling Darvish's perfect bid.
Armando Galarraga - 6/2/2010 - You've got to feel for Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce. With two outs in the ninth inning of Galarraga's then-perfect game, Jason Donald of the Indians grounded a ball to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera fielded it and tossed it to Galarraga, who had moved to cover first. Galarraga stepped on the base before Donald reached safely, but Jim Joyce missed the call. Before even grabbing a shower, Joyce sought out Galarraga to apologize for undoing the first perfect game in Tigers history.
Yusmeiro Petit - 9/6/2013 - Hunter Pence charged a ball off the bat of pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, laying out while trying to record the final out of what would have been a perfect game for Giants hurler Yusmeiro Petit. But the ball bounced just short of Pence's glove and proved to be the only hit surrendered in Petit's bid for the 23rd perfecto in Major League history.
Jonathan Sanchez - 7/10/2009 - Jonathan Sanchez was perfect, but the Giants were less than that in field. In the eighth inning, Juan Uribe botched a play at third. Sanchez threw a wild pitch to the next batter, allowing Chase Headley to move into scoring position for the Padres, but that was as close as they'd get to a run (or a hit, as Sanchez closed out the no-hitter).
Terry Mulholland - 8/15/1990 - The Phillies blanked the Giants 6-0 on the back of a no-hit performance by Mulholland. But a seventh-inning error charged to Charlie Hayes marred the perfecto.
Harvey Haddix - 5/26/1959 - The greatest game ever pitched? Pirates pitcher Harvey Haddix retired 36 consecutive batters to start a game against Hank Aaron's Milwaukee Braves. To start the bottom of the 13th, Felix Mantilla reached base on an error and the wheels started to come off. After an Eddie Mathews sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Aaron, Joe Adcock hit a walk-off homer that goes down as a double because Aaron walked off the field instead of scoring, allowing Adcock to pass him on the bases. Still, Haddix threw 12 perfect innings and gave up one hit and no earned runs. (Lew Burdette pitched all 13 innings for Milwaukee, surrendering 12 hits but no runs.)