Rich Hill was working his way toward Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball history, which he was eventually denied in cruel fashion, though it wasn’t without yet another ageless play by Chase Utley.
At 38 years old and in his 15th season, Utley has seemingly answered the bell for the Dodgers whenever called upon. On Wednesday night, he did his part to aid Hill in joining the record books.
The veteran left-hander had retired each of the 21 batters faced on the night. Hill benefitted from the Dodgers challenging a safe call in the second inning that ultimately loomed large as time wore on.
Josh Hill, who was involved in the play at first base, was leading off the bottom of the eighth. He lined an 0-2 pitch toward right field that Utley laid out to make a diving catch on.
The magnitude and expectation of Hill’s perfect game had already taken hold, which made Utley’s grab all the more dramatic. Aware of what he was working toward, Hill threw his arms up in amazement of what he’d just witnessed.
Utley, ever the stoic and steady player, showed no emotion or reaction. “It was a great play,” Hill told reporters after the game.
“Just to see him flying through the air. I have that image burned in my head now. It was pretty cool.”
Hill’s perfect game ultimately was lost on a Logan Forsythe error to open the bottom of the ninth. His no-hitter was washed away on Josh Harrison’s walk-off home run in the 10th inning. Hill became the first pitcher to lose a no-hitter in extra innings on a walk-off homer.