No-hitters that went fewer than 9 innings
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, a no-hitter needs to be at least nine innings in order to be official. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen performances of fewer than nine innings where a pitcher completed a game -- due to weather, or games that were scheduled to be shorter -- that were hitless.
There have been 26 such performances on record (since 1901), including Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning outing against the Braves in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Here’s a look at all 26 of those games.
April 25, 2021: Madison Bumgarner (ARI) at ATL, 7 IP
Bumgarner’s teammate Zac Gallen came close in the first game of the doubleheader, but allowed a hit in the sixth to Freddie Freeman. Then, Bumgarner achieved the feat in game two, making the D-backs the first team in MLB history to allow one hit or fewer in a doubleheader, according to Elias. Bumgarner’s outing was the first hitless complete game since the seven-inning doubleheaders were instituted with the 2020 season.
Oct. 1, 2006: Devern Hansack (BOS) vs. BAL, 5 IP
In just his second career start, Hansack would’ve been perfect through five innings against the Orioles at Fenway Park but for a second-inning walk, though he still faced the minimum to that point in the contest. But following a three-hour, 23-minute rain delay prior to first pitch, inclement weather proved too much to get a full game in, and the game was called after five. Still, it proved to be a career day for the right-hander, who only appeared in seven more games (one start) in the Majors. How did Hansack feel about it immediately afterward? “I wasn’t disappointed because nobody can stop the rain,” he said.
April 12, 1992: Matt Young (BOS) at CLE, 8 IP
Young made 20 of his 28 appearances in 1992 out of the Red Sox bullpen. But he began his season as a starter, and his first game of the year was a memorable one. Young held Cleveland hitless through eight innings but wasn't given the opportunity to finish an official no-hitter because the Red Sox, playing in Cleveland, were losing through the top of the ninth. Young had walked seven batters and surrendered two runs on an error and a fielder’s choice while Charles Nagy and the Cleveland bullpen held Boston to just one run. Disappointing as it had to be, Young seemed to maintain a good sense of humor about the game -- not least because he spent 1993, his final big league season, playing in Cleveland.
July 12, 1990: Melido Perez (CWS) at NYY, 6 IP
Perez wasn’t at his sharpest -- he issued four walks over six innings -- but as he walked off the mound at Yankee Stadium following the bottom of the sixth inning, he hadn’t yielded a hit. Then the rain had the final say, and the game was called with the White Sox leading, 8-0. What’s amazing about this is that his brother, Pascual, threw a five-inning no-hitter two seasons earlier in another game shortened by the weather. And Pascual was in the home dugout as a starting pitcher for the Yankees (though he didn’t start this game). What are the odds? “I wanted him to pitch well, but I wanted us to win. Maybe it would have been better if he had pitched a no-hitter and lost,” Pascual said. Melido struck out nine over his six frames and the Pascual brothers have quite the unique baseball story to tell.
July 1, 1990: Andy Hawkins (NYY) at CWS, 8 IP
Incredibly, just 11 days before Melido Perez’s six-inning no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, Perez’s counterpart from that night, Hawkins, threw eight hitless frames against -- of course -- Perez’s White Sox at Comiskey Park. This wasn’t exactly a dominant outing for the left-hander -- he walked five and his defense let him down with three costly errors in a disastrous eighth inning for New York, leading to four unearned runs. Hawkins was the only pitcher the Yanks used in this game and didn’t give up a hit, but the White Sox won, 4-0.
Sept. 24, 1988: Pascual Perez (MON) at PHI, 5 IP
Two years before he witnessed his brother’s own odd outing, Perez was putting together a sparkling performance, having struck out eight batters over five innings while walking just one. He seemed poised for an attempt at an official no-hitter, but weather got in the way. The Phillies were able to record one out in the sixth before the game was called for rain, and Perez would not have a chance to resume his outing.
April 21, 1984: David Palmer (MON) at STL, 5 IP
Palmer was perfect through five innings at Busch Stadium. With his Expos leading, 4-0, things were setting up perfectly, pun very much intended. But on a very long day for both clubs -- this was Game 2 of a doubleheader, and the start of Game 1 had been delayed for 94 minutes, followed by another delay before Game 2 could begin -- the rain prevailed and Montreal swept the twin bill with a five-inning nightcap. Palmer’s brilliant effort came in his second outing since coming off Tommy John surgery the prior year, and 1984 was going pretty well so far given that in his first start, he hit his first career home run.
Aug. 6, 1967: Dean Chance (MIN) at BOS, 5 IP
Chance was in a perfect position through five innings against the Red Sox, literally -- he’d faced the minimum 15 batters and had already retired Carl Yastrzemski twice. Rain would put an end to what could have been, but Chance didn’t need to dwell on the lost opportunity long. Four starts later he completed an official no-hitter in Cleveland, and became the first pitcher to allow an earned run while doing so.
Sept. 26, 1959: Sam Jones (SFG) at STL, 7 IP
Remarkably, this wasn't even the first unofficial no-hitter of the Giants' season -- so, at least Jones was in good company. He had just about reached the end of a season in which he’d finish second in Cy Young voting when he came into Busch Stadium for his final start against the Cardinals. Only able to complete seven hitless innings before the game was called, Jones still collected his 21st victory, and, not for nothing, he had already become the first Black pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the Majors in 1955.
June 12, 1959: Mike McCormick (SFG) at PHI, 5 IP
Just over three months before his teammate, Jones, would toss seven hitless innings at Busch Stadium, McCormick would hold the Phillies hitless through five frames at Connie Mack Stadium. There was some luck involved in this one, to be sure: McCormick actually gave up an infield hit to Richie Ashburn in the bottom of the sixth inning, but since the skies opened up and a downpour ensued, the entire sixth inning was cancelled, including the hit. McCormick, who would win the NL Cy Young Award in 1967, walked one and struck out two in the 3-0 San Francisco victory.
June 22, 1944: Jim Tobin (Boston Braves) vs. PHI, 5 IP
Tobin was enjoying his best stretch as a Major League starting pitcher, as from 1943-44, he posted a 2.85 ERA over 549 1/3 innings for Boston (though his win-loss record of 32-33 didn’t reflect that). On this day, in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Braves Field, the right-hander walked two and struck out one in a game called after five innings due to darkness thanks to a 15-inning marathon in Game 1 of the twin bill. It was actually the second time in ’44 that Tobin had turned in a hitless start, he threw a nine-inning no-hitter on April 27 of that season against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Aug. 5, 1940: John Whitehead (St. Louis Browns) vs. DET, 6 IP
Whitehead had not to this point put together a memorable career; never the most effective pitcher, he’d already spent much of the 1940 season in Double-A Toledo after being cast off by the White Sox the year before. But you wouldn’t have known of Whitehead’s rocky career or astronomical 8.44 ERA watching him face the Tigers on Aug. 5, as he allowed just two baserunners on a walk and an error over six otherwise clean innings. While the game was called because of rain before he could complete nine innings and Whitehead would only make a handful more appearances in his career, it would remain in history books as a no-hitter until the term was re-defined in 1991.
Aug. 27, 1937: Fred Frankhouse (Brooklyn Dodgers) vs. CIN, 7 2/3 IP
Frankhouse wasn’t someone you’d pick to throw a no-hitter of any significant length -- he averaged 10.7 hits per nine innings in 1937. But that’s what’s great about baseball: you just never know. The right-hander had control issues, walking six batters over 7 2/3 innings, but no Cincinnati batter recorded a hit and no Cincinnati runner had reached third base to that point in the contest. Then the rains came and the game was called, giving Brooklyn a 5-0 win.
Aug. 25, 1924: Walter Johnson (Washington Senators) vs. St. Louis Browns, 7 IP
Despite a legendary 21-year career in the Majors, Johnson only threw one no-hitter, in 1920. But he very nearly had a second no-no four years later. Nearing the end of what would be an MVP season, on Aug. 25, Johnson completed seven scoreless innings, allowing just two walks, before weather cut his outing short. But given that the Senators’ season would end with a World Series championship, the lost no-hitter was probably soon forgotten.
Aug. 20, 1912: Carl Cashion (Washington Senators) vs. Cleveland Naps, 6 IP
It’s tough when you have to follow one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history in a doubleheader, but that’s the position Cashion found himself for the Senators against the Naps at Griffith Stadium. Walter Johnson had just won his 15th consecutive start, which at that point was a Major League record, in Game 1 of the twin bill. But Game 2 would be cut short because Cleveland had to catch a train to Boston and apparently the train wouldn’t wait for the ballgame to end. Cashion would have been perfect through six innings, except his defense committed two errors behind him in the 2-0 Washington victory.
July 31, 1910: King Cole (CHC) at STL, 7 IP
In another case of “gotta catch the train,” Cole no-hit the Cardinals through seven innings in the second game of a doubleheader at Robison Field, walking four and striking out one. The Cubs were 4-0 winners before they rushed to the train station for their ride to the east coast. The 1910 campaign was by far the best of Cole’s six-year career -- he led the NL with a 1.80 ERA over 239 2/3 innings for Chicago.
Aug. 6, 1908: Johnny Lush (STL) at Brooklyn Superbas, 6 IP
Two years after no-hitting Brooklyn in a nine-inning game while he was pitching for the Phillies, Lush held the Superbas hitless again, this time for six innings before rain halted the proceedings. He walked five and struck out three in the 2-0 St. Louis victory. Both of the Cards’ runs in the game were unearned.
Oct. 5, 1907: Rube Vickers (Philadelphia Athletics) at Washington Senators, 5 IP
Vickers started Game 2 of a doubleheader in Washington after pitching 11 1/3 innings in a 4-2 A’s win in Game 1. Due to the length of the first game, the second game had to be called on account of darkness after five innings. Vickers was tossing a perfect game in the “nightcap” if it can be called that, so overall, he gave up seven hits over 16 1/3 scoreless innings when it was all said and done. Philadelphia won Game 2, 4-0. All in a day’s work.
Aug. 23, 1907: Howie Camnitz (PIT) at New York Giants, 5 IP
There was only one run scored on two hits in this game, and luckily for Camnitz, they belonged to the Pirates. The right-hander walked five batters and hit one, but didn’t yield a hit in the second game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Thanks to Honus Wagner’s single and steal, followed by an RBI single by Ed Abbaticchio, Pittsburgh swept the twin bill when Game 2 was called due to darkness after five frames.
Aug. 11, 1907: Ed Karger (STL) vs. Boston Doves, 7 IP
Oh, what could have been for Karger, a left-hander who was perfect through seven innings against Boston at Robison Field before the game was called because the teams had already agreed they’d only play seven innings in the second game of a doubleheader. The Cardinals won, 4-0.
May 26, 1907: Ed Walsh (CWS) vs. New York Highlanders, 5 IP
Walsh, a Hall of Fame right-hander who owns the career record for lowest ERA (1.82) and FIP (2.02), was no-hitting New York through four innings when the Highlanders began trying to delay the proceedings in the hope that the game would be called due to rain and the score, which was at the time 4-1 in favor of the White Sox, would not be declared final. The rain intensified and the game was delayed but later resumed, and by the fifth inning, it was 8-1. The game was finally called with more inclement weather in the area and Walsh had a shortened no-hitter. He walked two and a pair of wild pitches resulted in New York’s lone run. Walsh would throw a nine-inning no-no against the Red Sox four years later.
Sept. 26, 1906: Lefty Leifield (PIT) at Phillies, 6 IP
Leifield’s hitless effort came in a game that had to be called after six innings due to darkness. It was the second game of a doubleheader, and the Pirates also shut out the Phillies in the first game, 5-0, before winning, 8-0, in Leifield’s six-inning no-hit effort. The game came just two days after another fewer-than-nine innings hitless complete game. It was the second notable no-hit bid for Leifield in 1906 -- he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning on July 4 before allowing a single to Jimmy Slagle, who came around to score the only run of the game.
Sept. 24, 1906: Stoney McGlynn (STL) at Brooklyn Superbas, 7 IP
In the only game on this list that ended in a tie score, McGlynn’s Cardinals and the Superbas had the second game of a doubleheader at Washington Park called due to darkness with the clubs knotted at 1 after seven innings. Brooklyn scored an unearned run thanks to a walk and an error in the first inning, and St. Louis tied the game in the sixth despite only having three hits in the contest.
Aug. 24, 1906: Jake Weimer (CIN) vs. Brooklyn Superbas, 7 IP
Weimer also lost the chance to go for a nine-inning no-hitter due to a previous agreement to play only seven innings in the second game of a doubleheader between Cincinnati and Brooklyn at the Palace of the Fans. The southpaw walked one and struck out four in a 1-0 Reds win.
Aug. 15, 1905: Rube Waddell (Philadelphia Athletics) vs. St. Louis Browns, 5 IP
The Hall of Fame left-hander basically did it all on this day against St. Louis, striking out nine of the 15 batters he faced and handling three weak grounders back to the mound. He would’ve been perfect if not for his own error on one of the comebackers. The game was called due to rain and the A's won, 2-0.
Sept. 14, 1903: Red Ames (New York Giants) at STL, 5 IP
Ames was making his first Major League start for John McGraw’s Giants on this day, and he was brilliant, not yielding a hit while walking two and striking out seven in the first five innings. But with a storm threatening and it becoming so dark, the game was called and it was an official 5-0 victory for New York at Robison Field. Ames actually went on to no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas through 9 1/3 innings at the Polo Grounds on April 15, 1909, but gave up the first of seven hits in a 3-0, 13-inning loss.