OAKLAND -- Sean Manaea's no-hitter nearly wasn't. Twice.
It came so close to being over, in fact, that the second time it was threatened, Manaea didn't think it was still intact to be in jeopardy again.
With two outs in the sixth inning of the 3-0 A's victory on Saturday night, Boston's Andrew Benintendi believed he had broken up the left-hander's bid at history. And he did, at least temporarily.
:: Sean Manaea's no-hitter coverage ::
First-base umpire Adrian Johnson deemed Benintendi safe after he got his left hand on the bag to avoid a tag by first baseman Matt Olson on a soft dribbler up the line for what appeared to be an infield single. A's manager Bob Melvin emerged from the home dugout, prompting the umpires to confer in a huddle. Ultimately, they determined Benintendi went outside the basepath, resulting in an automatic out to end the inning.
Crew chief Brian Gorman explained the decision.
"When a fielder fields a ball and he attempts to tag a runner, the runner can [go] forward to the base or back to the base but can't go side-to-side. He has three feet either way. So if he goes more than three feet avoiding the tag, he's declared out for being out of his baseline.
"Four brains are better than one. [We reached the decision] … pretty fast. We were discussing the three-foot variation."
Benintendi expressed frustration in the outcome, saying, "They said I was out of the baseline. I don't know. I've never seen that call before. It's kind of suspect in that situation. It sucks. It's a big league hit, and they don't grow on trees. I hit a soft dribbler to first and was starting to get out of the baseline a little bit. More around it, but I was still within the baseline. The guy picked it up and I made a move around him and was able to reach and touch the base. He called me out of the baseline."
But maybe most remarkable is that that wasn't the first time Manaea's no-no was nearly thwarted. One inning prior, Sandy Leon sent a fly ball to shallow left-center field that shortstop Marcus Semien tracked down, only to bobble it and let it fall to the ground. A stretch of silence filled the Coliseum while official scorekeeper Art Santo Domingo deciphered a proper ruling under significant circumstances.
Semien was charged with an error, Leon was denied a hit, and Manaea maintained his flirtatious pursuit of history -- achieved soon thereafter.
"I know he's got it in him," Semien said. "He's been our best pitcher. He's got three plus pitches, throws them all for strikes, and good location. He was on tonight with all three, and that's what he can do when he's got that."
But Manaea acknowledged after the game that he didn't realize the ball had been ruled an error. So when the umpires were conferring on Benintendi's attempt, he was unaware that the continued survival of his no-hit bid was in play.
"I thought it was a hit," he said. "Until the eighth, I thought it just like was a one-hitter. I looked up in the eighth and saw there were still zeros and was like, whoa, weird."
Granted the second reprieve, Manaea finished the job, getting the final out when Hanley Ramirez grounded into a force play.