Of the three baseball rare feats – the no-hitter, the hit-for-the-cycle and the triple play – the San Diego Padres are void of two. But despite still seeking the club’s first no-hitter and hit-for-cycle, the Padres have turned seven triple plays during their 45 years of existence, and the second occurred 43 years ago today.
Clay Kirby was protecting a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning at San Diego Stadium on Aug. 1, 1971 when he gave up a leadoff single to the Atlanta Braves’ Earl Williams. Williams reached second on a wild pitch before Kirby walked Hal King, bringing Oscar Brown to the plate.
Second baseman Don Mason snagged a hard-hit liner off Brown’s bat and threw to first-baseman Nate Colbert to double King off first. Colbert then threw to shortstop Enzo Hernandez to triple Williams off second for the 4-3-6 triple play.
Five years ago today, on July 29, 2009, Mat Latos, Greg Burke and Mike Ekstrom combined to throw the San Diego Padres 22nd one-hitter in franchise history with a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Latos, the starter, lost his no-hitter in the fourth inning on a Jerry Hairston home run to left.
It was the only hit Latos would yield during seven strong innings of work at Great American Ball Park. Burke pitched the eighth and Ekstrom closed the game, each without yielding a hit.
Latos would go the distance less than a year later to capture the Friars’ 24th one-hitter by himself. On May 13, 2010, he gave up only an Eli Whiteside 6th-inning single – a dribbler between the shortstop and pitcher – during the Paders 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Five years ago today, Chicago White Sox hurler Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game to become the only major league pitcher to toss three complete games while facing the minimum 27 batters.
Buehrle’s second effort was on April 18, 2007, when he no-hit the Texas Rangers. Buehrle had picked off Sammy Sosa from first after the designated hitter drew a fifth inning walk.
His lesser-known 27-up, 27-down performance was on July 21, 2004, when he threw a two-hit, 14-0 complete game against the Cleveland Indians. Buehrle was perfect through 6 1/3 until Omar Vizquel singled with one out in the seventh. Vizquel was retired when Matt Lawton grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The next inning, pinch-hitter Tim Laker led off with a single, but Casey Blake doubled him up. Buehrle completed the effort, throwing just 90 pitches (67 for strikes).
I did some research on the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index and found that there have been 33 games in which a starter threw a complete game, faced the minimum 27 batters yet gave up at least one hit. Sixteen were one-hitters, 10 were two-hitters and six were three-hitters.
Only John Candalaria has accomplished this rare feat while yielding four hits. It happened on July 25, 1982, with Candalaria’s Pittsburgh Pirates facing the Atlanta Braves at Three Rivers Stadium.
Candalaria lost his no-hitter in the first inning on a one-out Rafael Ramirez single, but catcher Steve Nicosia threw him out on a steal attempt.
Bob Horner led off the second inning with a single to right, but Rufino Linares grounded into a 6-3 double-play. Horner also led off the eighth with a single to right, but this time Linares grounded into a 4-6-3 double-play.
Glenn Hubbard got the game’s fourth hit in the ninth with a lead-off infield single, but Bruce Benedict cleared the bases with a 6-4-3.
The most recent 27-up, 27-down with at least one hit was on May 29 of this year, when the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Josh Collmenter threw a 3-hit 4-0 shutout against the Cincinnati Reds (a double and two singles paired with three double-plays).
Before that, the San Diego Padres’ Andrew Cashner faced the minimum 27 during his 2-0 one-hit complete game victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 16, 2013 at PNC Park. The no-no was broken up by Jose Tabata with a 7th-inning single to right, but Tabata was sent to the dugout on a double-play.
Just a day after Odrisamer Despaigne nearly allowed the San Diego Padres to finally shed the label of being the only major league team never to throw a no-hitter, nonohitters.com celebrates the anniversary of another significant event in that story.
San Diego could have exited the no-no club 44 years ago today, early in the franchise’s history. On July 21, 1970, the New York Mets were beating the Padres 1-0, but Padres starter Clay Kirby still had a no-hitter going through eight innings. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, San Diego skipper Preston Gomez decided to pull Kirby for a pinch hitter, Cito Gaston.
“He was coming out, because I play to win,” Gomez told The AP after the game. “I knew he had a no-hitter going but we got to score some runs.”
Gaston struck out, reliever Jack Baldschun gave up a ninth-inning lead-off single to Bud Harrelson and the Mets rallied to pad their lead to 3-0, which would be the final score.
What if Gomez had allowed Kirby to bat? Would Kirby have reached base and started a rally that would have given them a 2-1 lead and an eventual no-no win? Would Kirby have struck out, yet kept the no-hitter alive through the top of the ninth to set up a ninth-inning Padres walk-off victory?
We’ll never know, and the club still doesn’t have no no-no.
Kirby acknowledged after the game that he was a little mad and a little surprised but said Gomez is the manager and it’s his call.
Gomez made the same move on Sept. 5, 1974, while managing the Houston Astros. Don Wilson was three outs from a no-hitter but the Astros trailed the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 and Gomez sent in pinch-hitter Tommy Helms in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Helms grounded out, Tony Perez killed the no-no with a ninth-inning single off Mike Cosgrove and the Reds wound up winning 2-1.
Odrisamer Despaigne took a San Diego Padres no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings Sunday but lost it on a double by the New York Mets’ Daniel Murphy. The two-out hit marked the 7,264th game without a no-no for the San Diego Padres, the only team without one.
The 27-year-old Cuban-born right-hander then gave up a David Wright RBI single to lose the lead for a 1-1 tie before he was pulled by manager Bud Black after 123 pitches. The Padres won on a walk-off infield single in the bottom of the 9th.
The last team to exit the no no-no club was the Mets, of course, who in 2012 ended the league’s longest streak from birth at 8,019 games when Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals.
With only seven shutouts in All-Star history, it’s no surprise that there have been no no-hitters since the tradition began in 1933.
Midsummer classic fans have never even got to witness a one-hitter, but the American League staff did take a one-hitter into the ninth inning during the 1990 All-Star Game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
The possibility of an All-Star no-no had been killed early when the San Francisco Giants’ Will Clark tagged the Oakland As’ Bob Welch for a first-inning single. Welch managed to keep the NL hitless for the rest of his two-inning stint, and Dave Steib, Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Thigpen, Chuck Finley held the fort through eight when Dennis Eckersley was called on for the save.
Eckersley gave up a lead-off single to the Phillies’ Lenny Dykstra before retiring the next three to getting the save and preserve the only two-hitter in All-Star history.
Final score: American League 2, National League 0.
One year ago today, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter against the Padres.
Of course, he accomplished the same feat 18 days ago.
Lincecum on July 13, 2013, struck out 13 Padres hitters but needed a 148th pitch to get Yonder Alonso to fly out to left for his first no-no and the first thrown at Petco Park. Third-baseman Pablo Sandoval contributed to the effort with a seventh-inning backhand grab on a sharp grounder and Hunter Pence helped with a diving eighth-inning catch.
As if once wasn’t enough, Lincecum did it again on June 25 of this year. The only other major league pitcher to throw no-hitters against the same team is the Cleveland Naps’ Addie Joss, who tossed no-nos against the Chicago White Sox on Oct. 2, 1908 and April 20, 1910.
The Padres have been one-hit by the New York Mets three times, but none was as crushing to the Mets as Leron Lee’s 9th-inning no-no-killing single against eventual Hall of Famer Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium on July 4, 1972.
Seaver took a no-hitter into the ninth inning this day, although he walked two batters in the fourth and two batters in the eighth so the perfect game was off the board.
Seaver took the mound in the ninth and got Dave Roberts to ground out before Leron Lee lined a ball up the middle to end the no-no bid. He then got Nate Colbert to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game for a 2-0 complete-game shutout, Seaver’s fourth career one-hitter.
Seaver struck out 11 batters, and the Mets scored their only runs with two outs in the third when Jim Fregosi and Ed Kranepool drew bases-loaded walks from the Padres’ Clay Kirby.
It was the Mets’ ninth one-hitter and it marked the team’s 1,692nd game without a no-hitter. On the other side, Kirby lost his no-hitter on Wayne Garrett’s first-inning single to move the Padres’ count to 556 games.
July 3 is a big day in San Diego no no-no history, with three Padres pitchers taking no-nos into the eighth inning.
Too bad the Padres have an off-day this year.
On this day in 1975, Randy Jones took a perfect game into the eighth against the Cincinnati Reds but lost it when shortstop Hector Torres fielded a Tony Perez grounder and threw the ball into the stands for an error. Jones got George Foster to ground out to keep the no-no active through 7 1/3, but said goodbye to that potential feat on a Bill Plummer double. He had to settle for his second one-hitter, with the earlier one coming in May of the same year.
On July 3, 1994, Andy Bennes took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the New York Mets but lost it on a Rico Brogna lead-off double. He held on for the one-hit complete game 7-0 shutout.
And on this day in 2004, the Padres’ Adam Eaton held the Kansas City Royals hitless for seven innings and had a 4-0 lead when Dee Brown lead off the eighth with a double to left. Eaton and reliever Akinori Otsuka wound up yielding three hits as Kansas City tied the game, but the Padres scored a run in the bottom of the eighth and held on for a 5-4 victory.
There have been two major league no-hitters on this date. On July 3, 1970, the California Angels’ Clyde Wright tossed a no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics in a 4-0 win. On July 3 of last year, the Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey threw his second no-hitter, this one topping the San Francisco Giants 3-0.
In non no no-no July 3 happenings, the Padres in 2001 tied a National League record by hitting four sacrifice flies in one game during a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Qualcomm Stadium.
And with the Padres off this July 3, the San Diego County Fair will be allowing free admission with a 2014 game ticket stub in celebration of the life of Tony Gwynn.
The Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey nearly joined an exclusive club Sunday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants before giving up a two-out single to right by Buster Posey.
Bailey no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28, 2012, with a 1-0 no-hitter, then repeated against the Giants on July 3, 2013, during a 3-0 win.
If Bailey could have accomplished the feat he would have been only the sixth player to complete the no-hitter hat-trick, joining Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Larry Corcoran (3), Cy Young (3), Bob Feller (3).
In fact, Young threw his third no-hitter 106 years ago tomorrow during the Boston Red Sox’ 8-0 win over the New York Highlanders.