Josh Beckett throws first career no-hitter against Phillies

17 Comments

UPDATE, 4:14 p.m. ET: Beckett got pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly out to shallow left field and then Ben Revere hit a slow-roller to first base for the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth. Beckett went to a 3-2 count on Jimmy Rollins and then walked him with a curveball low and inside. It was the third walk of the day for Beckett and brought up the hot-hitting Chase Utley, who also went to 3-2 and then watched a fastball down the middle for the final out. It was Beckett’s first career no-hitter. He did it on 128 total pitches with six strikeouts and three walks.

The no-hitter was the first for a Dodgers pitcher since Hideo Nomo’s at Coors Field in 1996.

***********************

UPDATE, 4:01 p.m. ET: Beckett struck out Domonic Brown looking, induced an easy groundout from Wil Nieves, and then got Cesar Hernandez swinging in a perfect eighth frame. He’s now up to five strikeouts on the afternoon and is only three outs away from completing the no-hitter with a pitch count of 110.

***********************

Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett is flirting with history Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

The 34-year-old has no-hit the host Phillies over seven innings, though he’s already up to 100 pitches.

We’ll have frame-by-frame updates as he tries to finish this thing off.

The only blemishes on the afternoon for Beckett are two walks — one in the first inning to Chase Utley and another in the second to Marlon Byrd. He has three strikeouts as the eighth inning gets underway.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
18 Comments

The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.