Pitchers who've lost no-hitters on the final out

August 30th, 2023

When the legendary Yogi Berra famously quipped, "It ain't over 'til it's over," he wasn't talking specifically about no-hitters. But the sentiment fits.

For a pitcher authoring a no-hit bid, the job isn't done until the final out is recorded, and every batter presents a dangerous obstacle on the way to making history. All it takes is a well-placed blooper or a ground ball with eyes to derail that quest at the last moment.

Over the years, many pitchers have experienced the agony of losing a no-hitter on the final out. Here is a breakdown of the last 10 times a pitcher has given up his first hit with two outs in the ninth inning, plus some other notable examples from baseball history.

Aug. 29, 2023: Alex Cobb, Giants vs. Reds
First hit: Spencer Steer
Cobb was oh-so-close to the first Giants no-hitter since Chris Heston tossed one in 2015. After walking the second batter of the ninth inning, Cobb got to an 0-1 count with two outs against Steer, who drilled an RBI double that just got over right fielder Luis Matos' head. To Cobb's credit -- and the Giants -- the right-hander stayed in to finish off a 131-pitch complete game. It was a dominant effort for Cobb, who rode his great splitter by throwing it a whopping 83 times, the most in a single start by a pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008). Cobb generated 18 whiffs on that splitter, tied for the second-most in that same span behind only Kevin Gausman (20 whiffs). 

Sept. 3, 2022: , White Sox vs. Twins
First hit: Luis Arraez
A no-hitter would have been the cherry on top of an incredible breakout season for Cease -- it also would have given the White Sox a no-no in three straight seasons. That this performance came against a division rival in a key moment of the 2022 season was just a bonus. Cease hadn't seemed to break a sweat tearing through the Twins' lineup, sitting at 96 pitches with two outs in the ninth. Unfortunately for the right-hander, the lineup then turned over for a fourth time, giving Arraez -- whose .318 batting average had him leading the American League -- another shot to end the bid. Arraez sent a 1-1 slider over the head of second baseman Romy Gonzalez and into shallow right field, and Cease ended up settling for a (still very impressive) one-hit shutout.

June 14, 2022: , Cardinals vs. Pirates
First hit: Cal Mitchell
For 8 2/3 innings, it appeared that Mikolas was going to spin one of baseball's best narratives. Ten years after his debut, having spent three seasons pitching in Japan in the middle of his career and dealing with a series of arm injuries that severely limited his playing time from 2020-'21, he was poised to throw a no-hitter. It would have been just as meaningful for his club -- it had been nearly 21 years since a Cardinals pitcher had achieved such a feat. Mikolas had already put in a monumental effort and was just a strike away from history when he threw his 129th pitch, a well-placed curveball, to Pirates rookie Cal Mitchell, who sent a line drive over the head of Gold Glove center fielder Harrison Bader to stop the no-no in its tracks.

July 29, 2018: Sean Newcomb, Braves vs. Dodgers
First hit: Chris Taylor
The Braves southpaw had retired 26 of the first 27 Dodgers hitters he faced, permitting only a walk while carrying a bid for the franchise's 15th no-hitter right to the precipice. Newcomb's effort was monumental; the 133 pitches he had thrown marked the most hurled by anyone since Mike Fiers tossed 134 while completing a no-hitter in 2015. Newcomb racked up eight strikeouts while challenging the Dodgers with a fastball on 76 percent of his pitches, but Taylor was just able to turn pitch No. 134 -- another heater -- into a ground-ball single through the left side of the infield, past diving third baseman Johan Camargo.

Sept. 17, 2017: , Tigers vs. White Sox
First hit: Tim Anderson
At the time, Boyd didn't seem like a prime candidate to nearly throw a no-hitter; he entered his start at Comerica Park with a 5.75 ERA in 114 1/3 innings. The last pitcher to post a no-hitter with an ERA higher than that was Francisco Liriano, with a 9.13 ERA in April 2011.

Despite barreled balls off the bats of Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson during the start, Boyd kept the White Sox out of the hit column until Anderson stepped to the plate. Boyd fell behind 2-0, then threw a slider to the outside corner that Anderson belted into the right-center gap for a double.

Aug. 25, 2016: Matt Moore, Giants at Dodgers
First hit: Corey Seager
Making just his fifth start with the Giants after being acquired from the Rays at the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Moore was one batter away from no-hitting the rival Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Unfortunately for Moore, that batter was Seager, on his bobblehead night. Moore was also likely gassed at that point, having thrown 130 pitches. While it wasn't the prettiest hit, Seager dropped a 1-1 fastball into right field for a bloop single and the crowd went wild.

July 1, 2015: , Indians at Rays
First hit: Joey Butler
Carrasco experienced double heartbreak at the hands of Butler that night, first losing his perfect game on a walk to Butler in the seventh inning, then yielding a two-strike single to him with an out to go in the ninth.

That wasn't the only difficulty Carrasco had run into during the ninth, as he had also walked and hit a batter. Carrasco would later call Butler his teammate when the Indians picked him up on waivers the following offseason.

May 17, 2015: , Braves at Marlins
First hit: Justin Bour
There was a reason the D-backs paid a premium in prospects to acquire Miller from the Braves after the 2015 season, and it was on full display when Miller faced the minimum through the game's first 26 batters. A leadoff walk in the second inning had been later erased on a double play.

Miller had been so dominant, he faced Bour for the game's final out with his pitch count at only 88. Unfortunately, Bour's first-pitch swing connected for a ground-ball single up the middle to end Miller's bid. Miller ended the game five pitches later, enough to register his second Maddux in three games.

Sept. 24, 2013: , Cardinals vs. Nationals
First hit: Ryan Zimmerman
Wacha rose to fame with his performance as a rookie in the 2013 playoffs, but his final start of the regular season that year wasn't too shabby either.

Fifteen months after being taken 19th overall in the '12 MLB Draft, Wacha dominated the Nationals for 8 2/3 innings. He was pretty dominant against Zimmerman as well, forcing a weak chopper up the middle.

Wacha reached for the ball, but his glove barely tipped it. Shortstop Pete Kozma barehanded the ball and made a strong throw to first, but not in time to take away Zimmerman's infield single.

Sept. 6, 2013: , Giants vs. D-backs (perfect game)
First hit: Eric Chavez
Petit was recalled in August to replace an injured Matt Cain in the Giants' rotation and he came within inches of perfection in his third start, one year after Cain had done it in June 2012.

Petit cruised against the D-backs until Chavez came to the plate. After five pitches, including a 2-2 curveball that was close enough to a strike that AT&T Park started cheering, the veteran Chavez dropped a single into right field just out of the reach of Hunter Pence. Petit still recorded the only shutout of his career, but just missed his shot at history.

Other famous no-hit bids lost with two outs in the ninth

June 2, 2010: Armando Galarraga, Detroit vs. Cleveland (perfect game)
First hit: Jason Donald
In perhaps the most controversial call ever in the regular season, Galarraga lost his perfect game on a missed call by umpire Jim Joyce, who ruled Donald beat Miguel Cabrera's throw to first base.

Sept. 2, 2001: Mike Mussina, Yankees at Red Sox
First hit: Carl Everett
Moose was one pitch away from a perfect game, against the rival Red Sox, at Fenway Park. He had retired the first 26 batters he faced, and had a 1-2 count on Everett before Everett lined a single to left field.

Sept. 27, 1998: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays vs. Tigers
First hit: Bobby Higginson
This was just Halladay's second career Major League start, and he gave fans a glimpse of the dominance that was to come, no-hitting the Tigers for 8 2/3 innings before allowing a two-out home run to Higginson. Halladay would, of course, get his no-hitter -- and a perfect game -- eventually.

Aug. 4, 1989: Dave Stieb, Blue Jays vs. Yankees
First hit: Roberto Kelly
Sept. 30, 1988: Stieb, Blue Jays vs. Orioles
First hit: Jim Traber
Sept. 24, 1988: Stieb, Blue Jays at Indians
First hit: Julio Franco
Stieb actually threw a no-hitter on Sept. 2, 1990. But before that, no one was more snake-bitten than him -- Stieb lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth in 1989, and lost no-hitters with two outs and two strikes in the ninth in back-to-back starts in 1988 (he also lost another no-hit bid opening the ninth inning in 1985).

June 12, 1988: Mike Scott, Astros vs. Braves
First hit: Ken Oberkfell
Scott had thrown a no-hitter to clinch the NL West two years earlier in 1986, the year he won the Cy Young, but he also lost this one with two outs in the ninth, on a broken-bat single.

April 15, 1983: Matt Wilcox, Tigers at White Sox
First hit: Jerry Hairston
Seeking MLB's first perfect game since Cleveland’s Len Barker threw one against the Blue Jays on May 15, 1981, Wilcox came one out shy when Hairston, a pinch-hitter, bounced a single up the middle into center field.

Sept. 24, 1975: Tom Seaver, Mets at Cubs
First hit: Joe Wallis
Seaver's more famous near-no-hitter was lost with one out in the ninth -- his perfect-game bid on July 9, 1969, broken up by Jimmy Qualls. But the Hall of Famer also lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth in 1975 -- although it was actually a scoreless game, so Seaver would've had to keep going. Either way, the Mets had to wait until Johan Santana to get their first no-hitter.

June 5, 1915: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Phillies at Cardinals
First hit: Artie Butler
The legendary Hall of Famer won 373 games in his Major League career -- but he never threw a no-hitter. This was the closest he came, one out away, before Butler singled up the middle.

July 23, 1896: Cy Young, Cleveland Spiders vs. Phillies
First hit: Ed Delahanty
As long as Major League Baseball has been played, pitchers have been losing no-hit bids in the ninth inning. Even Cy Young himself fell victim in 1896, coming one out away from a no-hitter against the Phillies when fellow Hall of Famer Delahanty knocked a single.