PITTSBURGH — Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill pitched a nine-inning no-hitter against the Pirates on Wednesday.
It wasn’t enough to earn him a win.
Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a solo home run that just cleared the short fence near the foul pole and the outstretched glove of left fielder Curtis Granderson to break up the no-hitter and give the Pirates a 1-0, walk-off victory.
Hill had a perfect game going into the ninth. Jordy Mercer broke that up when he reached on an error to lead off that inning. Chris Stewart bunted him into scoring position, but pinch-hitter Jose Osuna and Starling Marte both grounded out.
Hill finished with nine-plus innings, one hit, one run and 10 strikeouts on just 99 pitches.
Trevor Williams pitched the best game of his career, matching Hill frame for frame through eight innings. He worked around seven hits and five walks with the help of a pair of 4-6-3 double plays and 10 men left on base. Williams threw a career-high 114 pitches, 67 of which went for strikes.
Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio each pitched scoreless innings of relief.
Each club had some fantastic defensive plays to preserve the scoreless tie late in the game. Jordy Mercer made a vertical leap to Forsythe in the eighth with two men on. Chase Utley made a diving stop against Josh Bell in the bottom half of that inning.
Here’s more from Harrison and Williams on a crazy night from PNC Park:
HE SAID IT
“I have tremendous personal, professional respect for him. That’s the kind of story that could be made into a movie some day.” — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle before the game on Dodgers starter Rich Hill.
“It’s a pretty good part of the movie. I can’t imagine there’s any dishonor walking off the field, giving up one run.” — Hurdle on the Pirates narrowly preventing Hill from recording his first career no-hitter.
GAME IN GRAPHS
Exit velocity: 94mph
Angle: 33° pic.twitter.com/Mq3Du7Euid
— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) August 24, 2017
At just 93.6 MPH, Harrison’s home run didn’t have a ton of exit velocity, but it was the third hardest-hit ball off Hill all night. Only Starling Marte’s ground out in the seventh inning cracked the century mark. Luckily for Harrison, his ball hooked far enough toward the foul pole to find the shorter part of the fence and keep it away from the glove of Granderson. Statcast gave it a hit probability of just 16 percent.
***Hill becomes the first pitcher to lose a perfect game bid on an error in the ninth inning. It was the fourth complete game of his career. Harrison is the first player to break up a no-hitter with a walk-off home run.
***Tim Williams wrote earlier today about the Pirates using this August and September to get experience for their younger players going forward, now that they’re out of the pennant race. It doesn’t get much bigger of a stage than a perfect game in the ninth inning with the score tied. Hurdle seemed excited about his young players getting put in that situation.
“It’s a great environment to play through for the guys that were on the field,” he said. “I know there’s guys that have experienced more. Freese has been to the seventh game of the World Series. But for some of our guys, to be a part of that, watch it unfold, battle through it and win a game, I think that adds to the value of the experience you can gain up here.”
***Trevor Williams dealt with a ton of traffic on the bases, pitching just one clean inning in his eight. He said his two-seam fastball was the key to navigating the jams.
“My sinker is really my failsafe pitch,” he said. “We had a lot of round balls behind me that ended up getting two outs for us. It’s my best pitch. I like to go to it a lot. We could have bases loaded and I know that I can always get an out with that pitch.”