PITTSBURGH -- This time, with no blister issue clouding the decision, Dave Roberts didn't lift Rich Hill after seven hitless innings, or eight or nine. And when Hill's masterpiece was ruined by Josh Harrison's walk-off home run in the 10th for a 1-0 Pirates win, Roberts sounded more emotional than
PITTSBURGH -- This time, with no blister issue clouding the decision, Dave Roberts didn't lift Rich Hill after seven hitless innings, or eight or nine. And when Hill's masterpiece was ruined by Josh Harrison's walk-off home run in the 10th for a 1-0 Pirates win, Roberts sounded more emotional than Hill.
"With us this year, we find a lot of ways to win. Tonight, we found a different way to lose," said Roberts.
Nearly a year ago, Roberts lifted Hill from a game in Miami after seven perfect innings to protect his blistered fingers. Roberts, en route to a National League Manager of the Year Award, agonized over that one, saying he couldn't sleep.
"This time I feel sad for him," he said. "It's a game that we got beat, but you look at the opportunities a player has, to have a chance at a no-hitter, he gave himself every opportunity. I feel very excited for Rich to throw the ball so well, but disappointed he didn't get the no-hitter."
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By sending Hill out to pitch the bottom of the 10th inning of a scoreless tie, Roberts knew he might be facing a decision similar to last year should the Dodgers take a lead in the top of the 11th.
"I guess I signed up for this," said Roberts. "That's what happens when you have good pitchers that can miss bats, and we needed him to pitch deep tonight, and he saved our entire bullpen. There was no blister issue, he felt strong, and where he was at with the pitch count, to start the 10th with 95 pitches, if there was a quick inning he had the potential to keep going, but that wasn't the case.
"I wasn't 100-percent sold on the 11th, it was contingent on the 10th. I wanted to give him the opportunity to be efficient in the 10th and have the conversation for the 11th."
But Harrison hit the fourth pitch of the 10th for his homer, just eluding an all-out effort by left fielder Curtis Granderson to keep the game going as he slammed into the fence near the foul pole and just missed a spectacular catch.
"Harrison has been hitting the ball all over the field in the series, and I got there just late, it beat me and got over the fence," said Granderson. "I was about half a second too late getting to the spot, and even still then, probably a foot out of my reach."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.