Stevie Wilkerson

Ryan Yarbrough
AP Images

Rays lose combined perfecto in ninth

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Just two days after the Angels pulled off an emotional combined no-hitter against the Mariners, the Rays started working on their own combined no-no. During Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles, right-hander and ‘opener’ Ryne Stanek and lefty Ryan Yarbrough tossed eight perfect innings.

Stanek took the mound for the first two innings, issuing back-to-back strikeouts to Jonathan Villar and Anthony Santander to kick off the first. He induced three straight outs in the second before handing the ball off to Yarbrough in the third, who maintained the perfecto through the next six innings with five strikeouts and 76 pitches.

Behind Stanek and Yarbrough, the Rays’ offense mustered up four runs of support following Joey Wendle‘s sacrifice fly in the second, Austin Meadow’s solo shot in the third, and a two-run bomb from Michael Brosseau in the sixth.

In the ninth, just three outs away from making history, Yarbrough lost the perfecto—and the no-hitter. The first pitch he served up—an 85.4-m.p.h. cutter in the middle of the zone—was promptly delivered to right field by Hanser Alberto; then, to add insult to injury, Stevie Wilkerson laced his own first-pitch single off of Yarbrough in the next at-bat. Yarbrough followed up the back-to-back hits with a four-pitch strikeout to Chance Sisco, his sixth of the afternoon, but then made a hasty exit from the mound as Oliver Drake came in to pitch.

Had Stanek and Yarbrough completed the feat, they would have been the first pitchers to do so for the Rays since Matt Garza tossed a no-hitter against the Tigers in 2010. It would have also marked the first combined perfect game, both in franchise history and the history of Major League Baseball as well.