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11 no-hit bids turned final-out heartbreakers

Braves' Newcomb has company in barely missing history
May 8, 2019

On a day when Braves Country celebrated the induction of one of their heroes, Chipper Jones, into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Sean Newcomb was rolling toward history of his own in Atlanta. But in the end, it wasn't meant to be. With a 2-2 count on the scoreboard

On a day when Braves Country celebrated the induction of one of their heroes, Chipper Jones, into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Sean Newcomb was rolling toward history of his own in Atlanta.

But in the end, it wasn't meant to be. With a 2-2 count on the scoreboard and two outs tucked away in the ninth, Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor laced a single just past the diving glove of third baseman Johan Camargo to deny Newcomb of a place in the history books.

Newcomb can still hold his head high knowing he pitched brilliantly against a first-place club -- and he has company in the "oh so close" club, too. Here is a breakdown of the last 11 times a pitcher has lost a no-hitter bid with two outs in the ninth inning.

July 29, 2018: Newcomb, Braves vs. Dodgers, First hit: Chris Taylor
The Braves southpaw had retired 26 of the first 27 Dodgers hitters he had faced Sunday, 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 pitcher in a game in 2018, and the most since Tim Lincecum threw 148 pitches to complete his first no-hitter back in '13. Newcomb racked up eight strikeouts while challenging the Dodgers with a fastball on 76 percent of his pitches, but Taylor was just able to pitch No. 134 -- another heater -- into a ground-ball single through the left side of the infield.

Sept. 17, 2017: Matthew Boyd, Tigers vs. White Sox, First hit: Tim Anderson
Boyd wasn't the first pitcher you'd guess 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: Carlos Carrasco, 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: Shelby Miller, 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: Michael Wacha, 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: Yusmeiro Petit, Giants vs. D-backs, First hit: Eric Chavez (perfect game)
Petit was recalled in August to replace an injured Player Page for 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.

April 2, 2013: Yu Darvish, Rangers at Astros, First hit: Marwin Gonzalez (perfect game)
In Darvish's first start of the year, he absolutely baffled Houston's lineup until meeting Gonzalez needing just one out to go to finish off the perfecto.

The Japanese right-hander had already beaten the Astros' shortstop a few times prior with his cutter, and so he went back to it again with his first pitch of the at-bat. This time, however, Gonzalez was ready for it, lacing a single back up the box to spoil Darvish's flawless day.

Darvish still earned the victory as the Rangers won, 7-0, and finished with a then career-high 14 strikeouts.

July 9, 2011: Aaron Harang, Josh Spence, Chad Qualls, Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson, Padres at Dodgers, First hit: Juan Uribe
Starter Aaron Harang was making his first start in a month after hitting the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right foot. He had to be pulled after six innings and 95 pitches, opening the door for four relievers to add their names to the only combined bid on this list.

Unfortunately, the bid was lost when Uribe lined a slider from Gregerson to left field for a double. Then the game was lost when catcher Dioner Navarro hit a single to drive in Uribe and give the Dodgers a walk-off win.

Aug. 8, 2010: Brandon Morrow, Toronto vs. Tampa Bay, First hit: Evan Longoria
Right-hander Morrow had allowed just two baserunners all game (both walks) until Longoria stepped to the plate and hit a chopper in between first and second.

Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill made a diving effort to preserve the no-hitter, but the ball bounced in and out of his glove and into right field to end it. It was arguably the best start of Morrow's career, as he finished with a 17-strikeout complete game shutout.

June 2, 2010: Armando Galarraga, Detroit vs. Cleveland, First hit: Jason Donald (perfect game)
Boyd isn't the first Tiger to experience heartbreak like this. In fact, compared to the last time this happened to the Tigers, he might count himself lucky.

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 Jose Cabrera's throw to first base.

The play came shortly after center fielder Austin Jackson hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch to preserve the immaculate performance. It would have marked the first perfect game in Tigers history, and instead became one of the leading causes for the implementation of instant replay in professional baseball.

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

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: Dave Stieb, Blue Jays vs. Orioles, First hit: Jim Traber
Sept. 24, 1988: Dave 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.

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.

This story, written by former writers Jack Baer and Oliver Macklin, originally ran in 2017.