Despaigne comes oh so close to Padres' first no-hitter
Rookie righty loses bid with two outs in eighth by allowing double to Mets' Murphy
SAN DIEGO -- Despite some brief excitement on Sunday afternoon in San Diego, the Padres are still the lone MLB franchise without a no-hitter to its name.
Odrisamer Despaigne was four outs away from notching the club's first no-no in its 45-year history, but Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy did away with those aspirations by slicing a double to left-center with two outs in the eighth in the Padres' 2-1 victory.
"We haven't had one and I'm always hoping that we're gonna get one," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Once you get past the sixth, I think there's a legitimate chance. I thought he was throwing well enough to think that, 'Hey, it could happen.'"
Instead, Despaigne became the latest Padres pitcher to come oh so close.
The Padres have entered the eighth inning with a no-hitter intact 20 times. But while their pitchers have produced four National League Cy Young Awards and three ERA titles, not one has been able to record 27 outs without giving up a hit.
There have been plenty of close calls in Padres history, the most recent individual effort coming on Sept. 22, 2006, by Chris Young, now a starter for the Mariners. Young was two outs away when he gave up a two-run homer to Pirates pinch-hitter Joe Randa.
On July 9, 2011, Aaron Harang and four Padres relievers combined to throw 8 2/3 no-hit innings against the Dodgers before Luke Gregerson surrendered a double.
"I don't specifically remember the other ones a whole lot. I remember being a part of it but I don't remember what kind of game it was," said third baseman Chase Headley, who's been with the club since 2007. "Today was unique because it was a 1-0 ballgame. It wasn't like you're solely focused on the no-hitter, because one run and it's a tie game."
That ended up being precisely what happened -- after Murphy's double, David Wright singled up the middle to tie the game and knock out Despaigne. From then on, the players were solely focused on picking up a victory and a series win against the Mets.
"You're trying to win a baseball game, so you're worried about scratching another run across and making your plays defensively," said Seth Smith, who ended up chopping a walk-off infield single in the ninth inning. "[The no-hitter] is something you celebrate after the fact."
Still, Black said that the team was well aware of the pending situation.
"In the middle of the sixth, the dugout sort of changed," Black said. "Once you get over halfway through ... it gets a little more quiet, if you can imagine that, instead of going the other way."
The closest call in Padres history came in 1972, just their fourth season, when Steve Arlin was just one out away from achieving the feat. But Philadelphia's Denny Doyle singled to postpone the first no-no in Padres history, and San Diego fans are still waiting more than 40 years later.
"Obviously, not having one in San Diego, that's a big deal," Headley said. "It's fun to watch, it kind of keeps everybody on their toes. ... I was hoping it would work out."