Prior to Wednesday, the last time Rich Hill was in position to potentially make history, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed the veteran starter after seven perfect innings because of a troublesome blister. Not only is Hill removed from blister trouble, he was efficient against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 37-year-old spun his share of curveballs and effectively mixed in one fastball after another to keep Pirates hitters off balance. Outside of Adrian Gonzalez’s sliding catch on a bunt attempt and Chase Utley’s diving catch on a line drive, there weren’t any near-hits to speak of.
Hill was denied immortality when Logan Forsythe booted a ground ball to start the bottom of the ninth. However, some form history was still within grasp as Hill completed a ninth inning without allowing a hit.
Everything washed away in the bottom of the 10th as Josh Harrison led off with a solo home run. Despite being essentially perfect for 98 pitches prior, Hill put the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss squarely on his shoulders, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“It falls on me in this one. One bad pitch ran back over. I tip my hat. … Late in the game like that, you need to make better pitches.”
Hill also reminded the Dodgers are in pursuit of a goal that outweighs personal accomplishments, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“We have something bigger than any individual here that’s going on. I think that’s something we all realize. … We’re in it for the delayed gratification, not the instant gratification.”
Hill has often been philosophical whenever discussing his success or failures, and Wednesday’s loss elicited more of the same. He praised teammates for their contributions and spoke of needing to remain focused on moving forward with the same mentality and work ethic.
Hill’s demeanor and outlook was much more serene than several of the Dodgers, who were critical of their failure to produce so much as one run. Los Angeles finished the night 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.
The one bit of history Hill did make is he became the first pitcher to lose a no-hitter on a walk-off home run in extra innings.