These 4 no-hitters required extra innings

September 10th, 2023

Throwing a no-hitter is rare enough. But throwing one in a game that reaches extra innings? That’s even more special.

It might seem incredibly tough to accomplish, but four teams have achieved that feat, dating back to 1908 but also as recently as 1997. In 2023, and the Brewers nearly joined the list, carrying a combined no-hitter into the 11th inning before ultimately losing on a walk-off double in the 13th.

With starters tossing fewer and fewer innings over the years, any potential extra-inning no-hitter to come would likely be a combined effort. But every once in a while, a starter turns in a performance for the ages …

Here’s a list of every extra-inning no-hitter in AL/NL history.

July 12, 1997: Pirates 3, Astros 0, 10 innings
Pitchers: (9 IP),  (1 IP)

A pair of Pirates pitchers are responsible for the only combined no-hitter on this list. While a Jeff Bagwell walk in the first quickly ended any hope Cordova had of a perfect game, the right-hander was stellar in what went down as the best start of his career by game score. Cordova struck out 10 Astros and issued just one other free pass -- to eventual D-backs World Series hero Luis Gonzalez in the seventh inning.

But Pittsburgh was unable to score against Houston starter Chris Holt, who scattered five hits in 7 2/3 innings. Billy Wagner relieved Holt and was lights-out, striking out all four batters he faced to send the game to extra innings. Rincon took over for Cordova in the top of the 10th and worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless frame. After the Astros’ John Hudek walked two batters, Mark Smith -- pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot -- made the Pirates’ no-hitter official with a three-run walk-off homer. The sixth no-hitter in Pirates history, it remains the most recent.

Aug. 19, 1965: Reds 1, Cubs 0, 10 innings
Pitcher: Jim Maloney

Maloney, who spent 11 of his 12 MLB seasons with the Reds, holds a dubious record: most walks allowed in a no-hitter. The right-hander walked an incredible 10 batters across his 10 innings of work and still managed to keep the Cubs hitless during the first game of an August doubleheader at Wrigley Field -- despite loading the bases in the third and again in the ninth. Maloney got Don Landrum to pop out to end the latter threat, but with the Reds held scoreless by Cubs starter Larry Jackson, it sent the game to extras.

Still on the mound for the 10th, Jackson served up a one-out solo homer to the Reds’ Leo Cardenas. It was all the offense Maloney needed. The 25-year-old -- coming off his first and only All-Star appearance -- completed the no-hitter after issuing his 10th and final walk to begin the inning. He induced a double play from none other than Hall of Famer Ernie Banks to end it. Maloney’s final line was special: 10 innings, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts -- and zero hits.

May 2, 1917: Reds 1, Cubs 0, 10 innings

Toney and Cubs pitcher Hippo Vaughn met in a duel for the ages in May 1917 at Weeghman Park -- now called Wrigley . In nine innings apiece, each pitcher issued two walks but allowed zero hits. But with neither club able to get on the scoreboard, someone had to fold eventually. That someone was Vaughn -- who went on to win the NL Triple Crown the following season.

Larry Kopf provided the Reds’ first hit, a one-out single in the top of the 10th. After Hal Chase reached on an error by Cubs center fielder Cy Williams, Kopf scored from third on an infield squibber from Jim Thorpe -- yes, that Jim Thorpe. Chase was thrown out at the plate trying to score a second run, but it was enough. Toney mowed down the Cubs one final time in the bottom of the inning, striking out Williams to seal the no-hitter and win one of the best-pitched games in history.

July 4, 1908: New York Giants 1, Phillies 0, 10 innings
Pitcher: Hooks Wiltse

The 1908 season was perhaps the apex of Wiltse’s 12-year career with the Giants. He won 23 games that season (while losing 14), posted a 2.24 ERA and pitched a career-high 330 innings. Ten of those frames came during his 10-inning no-hitter against the Phillies at the Polo Grounds on Independence Day in 1908 -- and according to reports from the time, Wiltse was robbed of a perfect game by an umpire’s error.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Wiltse tossed a 1-2 curveball to opposing pitcher George McQuillan. It looked to all the world like a strike -- but it was called a ball. Wiltse hit McQuillan with his next pitch, ending his perfect-game bid, but he still managed to keep the Phillies hitless through the 10th. The Giants’ Al Bridwell drove in the winning run with nobody out in the bottom of the 10th, sealing Wiltse’s no-hitter -- a first in AL/NL history. But Wiltse never got the perfect game he deserved -- even home-plate umpire Cy Rigler later admitted he’d missed the call.