A no-hitter is an impressive and rare feat to strive for, but sometimes, for whatever reason, an outing that’s headed toward the history books doesn’t end up a no-hitter. Sometimes, a pitcher throws a complete game without allowing a hit, but it isn’t a full nine innings, so it isn’t an official no-no. Another way that can happen? If that pitcher throws a hitless complete game but loses, coming in at eight innings pitched.
What about when a pitcher is removed with a no-hitter intact? Since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, there have been 29 instances of a pitcher throwing at least seven hitless innings in a game but not completing the game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Here’s a look at those pitchers who were taken out with a no-hit bid intact through at least seven innings.
Sept. 19, 2023: Blake Snell (SD) vs. COL, 7 IP
In a serious case of déjà vu for San Diego, for the third consecutive season, a Padres starter was removed from a seven-inning bid due to workload concerns only to later be denied the honor of starting a combined no-hitter. Snell himself had previously found himself on the wrong end of the deal in 2021 – that game is also detailed below – and he had a similar outing against the Rockies, running up his pitch count to 104 with four walks and 10 strikeouts before he was pulled with the game still scoreless. Although the combined effort was later lost on Brendan Rodgers’ 9th-inning leadoff single against Josh Hader, the shutout was preserved, and the Padres went home on a high note anyway, courtesy of Xander Bogaerts’ walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th.
Sept. 10, 2023: Corbin Burnes (MIL) at NYY, 8 IP
Burnes knows how this feels; you will see his name later in this article as he pitched the first eight frames of the Brewers' combined no-hitter against the Guardians in 2021. But few pitchers have played in a game quite like this Sunday afternoon thriller at Yankee Stadium. Burnes kept the Yanks hitless for eight innings before closer Devin Williams entered and pitched a perfect ninth. Time to celebrate, right? Not quite. As the Brewers' offense was silenced by Gerrit Cole and company, this 0-0 game moved into extra innings. Milwaukee couldn't push a run across in the top of the 10th, but right-hander Abner Uribe kept the no-hitter alive through the bottom of the inning.
In the 11th, the Brewers finally broke through with a run. But the club's quest to complete the first 11-inning no-hitter in MLB history came up short as Oswaldo Cabrera roped a one-out double off of Joel Payamps to tie the score. The Brewers would ultimately fall in 13 innings in one of the wildest games of the season.
Aug. 25, 2023: Framber Valdez (HOU) at DET, 7 IP
Johnny Vander Meer famously threw no-hitters in consecutive starts in 1938, and that was also the last time a pitcher tossed no-nos in the same calendar month. Valdez came just six outs away from making history unseen for 75 years. The left-hander opened the month by tossing a no-hitter vs. the Guardians and was eyeing another no-no through seven innings at Comerica Park. But he wasn't at his sharpest. Whereas Valdez carved through Cleveland in just 93 pitches, seven innings against the Tigers required 114 pitches, matching his career high.
“We couldn’t take him any further than we’d taken him,” manager Dusty Baker said of his starter. “He would have had to go 140 pitches to complete that, and we weren’t going to take a chance on that. Man, that was tough.”
Bryan Abreu took over to begin the bottom of the eighth and permitted a one-out single to pinch-hitter Kerry Carpenter. Valdez was left with a no-decision as the Tigers scored four runs with two outs in the ninth to win the game.
May 2, 2023: Mason Miller (OAK) vs. SEA, 7 IP
In a battle of rookie Millers, Oakland's No. 2 prospect emerged on top. Mason outshined the Mariners' Bryce Miller at the Coliseum, throwing seven no-hit innings in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. Despite matching a career-high with six strikeouts -- albeit in only his third MLB start -- Miller issued four walks and threw 100 pitches, only 54 of which were strikes. “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff,” he said after the game. Given Miller's injury history, including a scapula strain that sidelined him for much of 2022, manager Mark Kotsay decided to remove Miller after the seventh. "Mason completely understood his situation," Kotsay said. "It’s difficult. You want to be able to accomplish something that’s rare. At the same time, you have to balance what’s best for our future.” The Mariners broke up the combined no-hit bid in the eighth with an AJ Pollock homer off reliever Richard Lovelady.
Oct. 3, 2022: Luis Severino (NYY) at TEX, 7 IP
The biggest story for the Yankees was Aaron Judge chasing 62 home runs, but Severino nearly stole the show with a historic feat of his own, dominating the Rangers for seven hitless innings. But the hard-throwing right-hander was making just his third start after returning from a lat strain that had cost him two months, and the Yankees didn't want to risk him reinjuring himself before the playoffs. So after Severino struck out Nathaniel Lowe to end the seventh inning, having thrown 94 pitches, manager Aaron Boone intercepted him in the dugout. "I can't let you do it," Boone told Severino, who refused to make eye contact with his manager. Boone took Severino out of the game for the eighth, and reliever Miguel Castro promptly allowed a single to Josh Jung to break up the no-hitter.
"I was trying to fight [Boone], but you can’t do anything about it," Severino said after the game. "He asked me, 'What do you think?' I told him, 'I would die out there.'"
Sept. 13, 2022: Joe Ryan (MIN) vs. KC, 7 IP
The Twins rookie right-hander got through seven no-hit innings against the Royals at Target Field, allowing only a pair of walks with nine strikeouts, but it took him a near-season-high 106 pitches. Ryan pleaded his case to manager Rocco Baldelli to stay in the game -- reminding Baldelli that he once threw 156 pitches in a Minor League game -- but it didn't work. Baldelli removed Ryan for reliever Jovani Moran, who lost the no-hit bid in the ninth on a double by fellow star rookie Bobby Witt Jr.
June 25, 2022: Cristian Javier (HOU) at NYY, 7 IP
Javier didn't get to finish off this no-no, but his teammates did -- the right-hander led the way as the Astros completed the second combined no-hitter of the 2022 season (the Mets threw one on April 29). Javier was brilliant through seven innings, striking out 13 at Yankee Stadium, it just took the 25-year-old a career-high 115 pitches to get there. But Houston relievers Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly finished the job against the Bronx Bombers.
May 15, 2022: Hunter Greene (CIN) at PIT, 7 1/3 IP
The Reds' rookie fireballer was electric but erratic against the Pirates at PNC Park, striking out nine but walking five over 7 1/3 hitless innings. That set up one of baseball's rarest oddities: a team allowing no hits ... and losing. Pittsburgh scratched out a run in the eighth inning on three walks and an RBI groundout by Ke'Bryan Hayes -- and that was the game's only run. Greene and reliever Art Warren combined to no-hit the Pirates, and the Reds lost, 1-0. Cincinnati became just the sixth team to allow zero hits in a game and lose.
April 13, 2022: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) at MIN, 7 IP (perfect)
Kershaw looked like his vintage self, absolutely dominating the Twins on an April afternoon. He induced 20 swings and misses, including 17 on his slider. He racked up 13 strikeouts, his 25th career game with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. He was perfect through seven but yielded to the bullpen after 80 pitches in his first start of the season after a short Spring Training. Alex Vesia came in for the eighth and retired Jorge Polanco before allowing a single to Gary Sánchez. After the game, Kershaw said it was “the right decision” for manager Dave Roberts to remove him.
April 8, 2022: Sean Manaea (SD) at ARI, 7 IP
In his first start for the Padres after being traded to San Diego by the A’s, Manaea immediately validated his new club’s pursuit. The left-hander, who previously threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox in Oakland on April 21, 2018, stymied D-backs hitters over seven innings and 88 pitches, yielding only a second-inning walk to Daulton Varsho for the only Arizona hitter to reach base against him. Manaea struck out seven and threw 66 of his 88 pitches for strikes before being lifted from the contest due to his pitch count -- with a shortened Spring Training and Manaea making his first start of the season, Padres manager Bob Melvin didn’t risk injury to his new starter by letting him go any further.
Sept. 11, 2021: Corbin Burnes (MIL) at CLE, 8 IP
The Brewers scored three runs over the first two innings at Progressive Field, and that was more than enough for their ace right-hander, who would go on to win the 2021 NL Cy Young Award. Burnes took a perfect game into the seventh inning, when he issued a leadoff walk to Myles Straw. But that was the only blemish on his line for the night, which came to an end after eight masterful innings and 115 pitches. Closer Josh Hader breezed through the ninth inning to seal the second no-hitter in Brewers history. Burnes finished the night with 14 strikeouts, one shy of his season high, which came exactly one month earlier, when he fanned 15 Cubs over eight scoreless frames at Wrigley Field.
Aug. 31, 2021: Blake Snell (SD) at ARI, 7 IP
Snell was dominant versus the D-backs in seven innings of no-hit ball before being taken out due to his pitch count. In his best performance of the season based on its 85 Game Score, the left-hander put up 10 K’s and two walks. He induced 18 swinging strikes and 17 strikes looking, facing 23 batters during his 107-pitch outing. Snell understood and expressed agreement with the decision to end his no-hit bid, which reliever Pierce Johnson lost in the eighth inning.
April 4, 2019: Trevor Bauer (CLE) vs. TOR, 7 IP
Coming off seven strong innings in which he gave up only one run in his season debut five days earlier, Bauer was working on a no-hitter against the Blue Jays at Progressive Field. The problem was that in addition to striking out eight batters, he walked six, and at the end of seven innings, his pitch count stood at 117. Toronto picked up its first hit of the game when Freddy Galvis led off the ninth inning against Brad Hand with a single. There would be two more hits and a run scored in the inning, but Cleveland won the game, 4-1.
July 23, 2018: Daniel Ponce de Leon (STL) at CIN, 7 IP
What a story it would have been if Ponce de Leon had finished off a no-hitter in his Major League debut. On the other hand, it was already an amazing story that he was on the mound at all. A year earlier, while pitching for Triple-A Memphis, a screaming comebacker to the head fractured his skull and nearly killed him. But Ponce de Leon made it back and shut down the Reds at Great American Ball Park, although his pitch count (116) prevented him from going the distance. The St. Louis bullpen then allowed two runs on five hits in a 2-1 loss.
April 18, 2017: Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) at SEA, 7 IP
Chen’s season would ultimately be cut short due to injuries -- he ended up making nine appearances (five starts) for Miami in 2017, posting a 3.82 ERA. But this was his finest start of the year; he walked two and struck out two on 100 pitches over seven innings against the Mariners in Seattle. He yielded to the Marlins’ bullpen for the eighth and ninth, with sidearmer Brad Ziegler and fellow right-hander Kyle Barraclough finishing off the Mariners, giving up a hit in the ninth that broke up the combined no-hit bid.
Sept. 10, 2016: Rich Hill (LAD) at MIA, 7 IP (perfect)
Hill pitched seven perfect innings, striking out nine, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he “felt sick to my stomach” taking Hill out of the game with the opportunity to achieve a perfect game. Blister issues suffered by the veteran starting pitcher earlier that season with Oakland before he was traded to Los Angeles urged the Dodgers to be cautious with him late in the season as they pushed for a postseason run. Hill threw 62 of 89 pitches for strikes, facing the minimum 21 batters in the process. The perfect game was subsequently broken up after Hill was replaced, but he still got the win as part of a 12-5 season. He is the only pitcher besides Clayton Kershaw to be pulled from a game with seven innings of perfect baseball since 1893, and both Dodgers starters were managed by Roberts.
April 29, 2016: Adam Conley (MIA) at MIL, 7 2/3 IP
Conley threw 7 2/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Brewers before Miami manager Don Mattingly made the slow walk to the mound, amid a chorus of boos from the opposing crowd, to pull the 25-year-old left-hander. Mattingly said after the game that the decision wasn’t tough at all. “It was easy right there,” Mattingly said. “I knew he couldn't finish. We weren't going to let him finish. That was really easy, actually.” Conley, whose previous career high was 106 pitches, entered the eighth at the 100 mark, and needed five pitches to strike out Ramon Flores before issuing a five-pitch walk. After a four-pitch flyout to the next batter, Mattingly had seen enough. Marlins reliever José Ureña took the no-hit bid one out into the ninth inning before giving up a bloop single to Jonathan Lucroy.
April 8, 2016: Ross Stripling (LAD) at SFG, 7 1/3 IP
Making his Major League debut against the Dodgers' bitter rival, Stripling threw 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Giants in San Francisco, striking out four and walking four. After noticing a velocity dip in the seventh, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts strolled to the mound to pull his young starter after exactly 100 pitches. Stripling was, after all, just two years removed from Tommy John surgery. In the end, the 26-year-old right-hander was OK with Roberts’ call to the bullpen. “I thought it was the right choice,” Stripling said after the game. “I was tired; it was the right call. I think you could tell I was trending downward. It was a tough decision for him. I certainly had no ill feelings toward him one bit.” Roberts brought in right-handed reliever Chris Hatcher, who immediately gave up a two-run home run to Trevor Brown to tie the game at 2. The Dodgers eventually lost the game in the 10th inning on a walk-off home run by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.
April 18, 2014: Aaron Harang (ATL) at NYM, 7 IP
Harang turned back the clock on an April night in 2014. Seven years removed from his fourth-place Cy Young finish in 2007, the 35-year-old Brave threw seven innings of no-hit ball against the New York Mets. But after walking six, including two each in the sixth and seventh innings, his pitch count sat at 121 when his spot in the lineup came to bat in the top of the eighth. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez pinch-hit for Harang, citing health concerns and a long season ahead for the tall right-hander. Harang was relieved by Luis Avilan, who gave up a two-out single to David Wright in the eighth.
Aug. 15, 2010: Kevin Slowey (MIN) vs. OAK, 7 IP
Slowey nearly made baseball history one night in August 2010. After missing his previous start with elbow issues, the Twins right-hander held the A’s hitless over seven innings on 106 pitches. Slowey was just 26 years old at the time and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire pulled the pitcher with his recent injury in mind. Gardenhire summoned Jon Rauch, who allowed an eighth-inning double to Cliff Pennington, ending the no-hit bid.
May 3, 2002: Damian Moss (ATL) at STL, 7 IP
In his sixth career start, Moss tossed seven no-hit innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Manager Bobby Cox never gave the rookie a chance to finish it, thanks to a bloated pitch count. St. Louis couldn’t get a hit off Moss despite limited control from the 25-year-old. Moss walked seven Cardinals and had only two 1-2-3 innings, leading to 116 pitches after seven frames. After the southpaw was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, Braves reliever Mike Remlinger gave up a one-out single to Fernando Vina to cut the no-hit bid short.
July 12, 1997: Francisco Cordova (PIT) vs. HOU, 9 IP
Facing an Astros lineup featuring two future Hall of Famers in Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, Cordova kept Houston out of the hit column for nine magnificent innings. However, the Pirates were unable to get a run across against Astros starter Chris Holt or reliever Billy Wagner, and Cordova was replaced by Ricardo Rincon, having thrown 121 pitches. After Rincon got through the top of the 10th without allowing a hit, Pittsburgh’s Mark Smith slammed a walk-off, pinch-hit three-run homer off John Hudek in the bottom of the frame to give the Bucs the win and the combined no-no. Cordova remains the only pitcher in AL/NL history to open a combined no-hitter by tossing nine full innings.
Sept. 2, 1996: David Cone (NYY) at OAK, 7 IP
After starting the 1996 season 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA, Cone was diagnosed with an aneurysm in his right arm that required surgery and sidelined him for four months. The righty made his return to the mound for the Yankees at the Coliseum on Sept. 2 and didn’t miss a beat, firing seven innings of no-hit ball against the A’s. But with Cone’s pitch count at 85, Yankees manager Joe Torre pulled him for Mariano Rivera to start the eighth inning. Rivera extended the no-hit bid until the ninth, when Jose Herrera’s one-out infield single ended it. Cone would go on to fire a perfect game against the Expos less than three years later, recording the only no-hitter of his career.
April 11, 1990: Mark Langston (LAA) vs. SEA, 7 IP
Making his Angels debut after signing with the club the previous offseason, Langston held the Mariners hitless on 99 pitches through seven innings before being pulled at his own request. Langston hadn’t been fully built up after a brief work stoppage led to a shortened Spring Training, so he asked to be removed, and manager Doug Rader brought in reliever Mike Witt. “There’s no way I could have made two more innings,” Langston told the Los Angeles Times in a 2020 interview. “I didn’t have the base underneath me to do that.” Witt, who was responsible for the Angels’ previous no-hitter when he threw a perfect game against the Rangers in 1984, ended up getting the final six outs against Seattle to complete the fifth combined no-no in AL/NL history.
Sept. 4, 1974: Don Wilson (HOU) vs. CIN, 8 IP
Wilson managed to avoid any hits but walked five batters, hit one, struck out only three and allowed two unearned runs on a fifth-inning error. With the Astros trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, manager Preston Gomez pinch-hit for Wilson, and reliever Mike Cosgrove gave up a leadoff hit to Tony Perez in the ninth. Sadly, Wilson would pitch only four more games after this, as the 1971 NL All-Star died at the age of only 29 on Jan. 5, 1975. He’s now in the Astros Hall of Fame.
July 21, 1970: Clay Kirby (SD) vs. NYM, 8 IP
Once again, Preston Gomez was the manager who had to make the controversial decision to remove a pitcher who had a no-hitter going but also was trailing in the game. This time it was Kirby, a 22-year-old righty who entered the night with a 5.03 ERA on the season. Kirby walked two and gave up a run in the first, then was pulled for a pinch-hitter with the score still 1-0 in the eighth. Reliever Jack Baldschun gave up the no-no and two more runs in the ninth.
April 30, 1967: Steve Barber (BAL) vs. DET, 8 2/3 IP
Barber entered the top of the ninth with a 1-0 lead thanks to a Luis Aparicio sacrifice fly in the eighth. He’d already walked seven batters through eight innings but had yet to allow a hit. He walked two more to start the inning before retiring the next two. With runners on second and third thanks to a sacrifice bunt, Barber uncorked a wild pitch with Mickey Stanley at the plate, allowing a run to score and tie the game. Barber walked Stanley and was removed from the game, with it tied and the hurler up to 10 walks. Reliever Stu Miller entered and allowed a fielder’s choice that knocked in the go-ahead run, before retiring Al Kaline to end the inning. The O’s went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth and lost the game, 2-1, despite not allowing a hit.
May 22, 1962: Whitey Ford (NYY) vs. LAA, 7 IP
The Hall of Famer never threw a no-hitter, but he had a golden opportunity in this one, which was derailed by a strained muscle in his back that forced his exit. Ford did give up a run in the top of the first on two walks, a steal, a groundout and a sac fly, but otherwise he was cruising. The Angels broke up the no-hitter against reliever Jim Coates, but the Yanks escaped with a 2-1 victory on Elston Howard’s walk-off sac fly in the 12th.
May 26, 1956: Johnny Klippstein (CIN) at MLN, 7 IP
What did it take for a pitcher to be pulled after seven no-hit innings way back in 1956, when complete games were far more common? In this case, seven walks and a hit batter did the trick. Klippstein got himself into bases-loaded jams twice along the way, allowing a run in the second inning on a Frank Torre sac fly. When Klippstein’s spot in the order came up with one on and one out in the top of the eighth, Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts pinch-hit to try to erase the one-run deficit. It didn’t work, but Cincinnati did tie things up in the ninth before the Braves won in the 11th.