An interesting situation arose in the top of the eighth inning in Friday night’s game at Fenway Park between the Astros and the Red Sox. The Astros were trailing 3-2 in the eighth but were threatening with runners on first and second with two outs and Matt Dominguez at the plate against reliever Burke Badenhop.
Dominguez hit a weak line drive to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who fielded it on one hop and fed second baseman Dustin Pedroia an underhand toss. Dexter Fowler slid in about the same time the ball went into Pedroia’s glove, and second base umpire Pat Hoberg ruled Fowler safe. Pedroia then fired to catcher Christian Vazquez as pinch-runner Gregorio Petit was on his way home. Vazquez, for some reason, took the throw several steps in front of home plate before trying to run Petit down. Petit juked Vazquez and dashed home towards the back of the plate. Vazquez passed the ball to Badenhop covering home, and Petit juked him, too, reaching down and touching the plate with his right hand. Petit was ruled safe as well by home plate umpire Cory Blaser.
Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to challenge the call at second (which, if overturned, would invalidate the play at home plate as there would then be three outs), but after a lengthy review, the call at second was upheld and thus the call at home plate was as well.
The official scoring is a fielder’s choice with the run scoring on Vazquez’s error — no RBI for Dominguez.
The Astros eventually overcame the Red Sox, winning 5-3 in 10 innings. Marisnick knocked in a pair of runs with a double in the top of the 10th and Tony Sipp closed out the bottom half of the inning for the win.
Tossing a no-hitter doesn’t just require physical excellence; it’s a mental feat, too. Which is why it may have helped that Athletics hurler Sean Manaea didn’t realize his no-hitter was intact until the eighth inning of Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Red Sox.
While the first few innings passed uneventfully, Sandy Leon managed to reach base in the fifth inning after skying a ball to shallow center field. It wasn’t a clean hit, of course — shortstop Marcus Semien dropped the ball on the catch and was promptly charged with an error to preserve Manaea’s no-hit bid.
That was news to Manaea, who told reporters that he didn’t realize he still had a no-hitter going until he saw the scoreboard in the eighth inning. “Until the eighth, I thought it just like was a one-hitter,” he said. “I looked up in the eighth and saw there were still zeros and was like, whoa, weird.” The delay of that realization may have calmed his nerves as he continued to blank the best team in baseball, eventually capping his 108-pitch, 10-strikeout effort in the ninth.
A few fun facts about the feat:
- Manaea’s no-hitter was the 12th of its kind in franchise history, dating back to Weldon Henley’s no-no against the St. Louis Browns in 1905.
- The most recent pitcher to do so for the A’s was fellow left-hander Dallas Braden, who completed the club’s second-ever perfect game against the Rays in 2010. Surprisingly, Manaea managed to make even more efficient use of his pitch count than Braden did during his perfecto; he fired just 108 pitches against the Red Sox, a hair under the 109 pitches used by Braden against the Rays.
- Manaea himself, however, is just the seventh Athletics pitcher (and third lefty) to toss a no-hitter. Legendary southpaw Vida Blue pitched two no-nos for the team, including a combined no-hitter that also featured Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers against the 1975 California Angels.
- Until Saturday, the Red Sox had the second-longest streak without being no-hit in the majors, at 3,987 games… a record that was only eclipsed by the A’s own streak.
- With a 17-2 record and .895 winning percentage, the Red Sox were the most successful team to be no-hit in major-league history. Prior to Saturday’s loss, they averaged 6.4 runs per game and had yet to be shut out by any team in 2018.
- Since 1908, 46 no-hitters have been pitched against AL East teams: four against the Blue Jays, five against the Rays, eight against the Yankees, 13 against the Red Sox and 16 against the Orioles. Mariners lefty Chris Bosio was the last pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox, a feat he accomplished almost exactly 25 years ago on April 22, 1993.