Joe Mauer broke up Anibal Sanchez’s no-hit bid last night with a one-out single in the ninth inning. He has made a habit out of spoiling history.
Last night was the third time in Mauer’s career that he has broken up a no-hit bid in the ninth inning. He previously did it in on May 6, 2008 when he doubled off White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd with two outs in the ninth. He later struck again on August 23, 2010 when he singled off Rangers’ right-hander Neftali Feliz with one out in the final inning.
If you could pick anybody as a likely candidate to break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning, Joe Mauer and his .324 career batting average would figure to be near the top of the list. Still, it’s a pretty rare occurrence. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mauer is tied with former Yankees infielder Horace Clarke for the most no-hitters broken up in the ninth inning since 1961. The amazing part about Clarke is that they were all within one month in 1970.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.