If it seemed as though the Los Angeles Dodgers had been there before, it’s because they were. Kenta Maeda was perfect last Sunday through five innings, only to come undone in a four-run sixth. On Wednesday, Rich Hill was perfect into the ninth inning.
It was broken up on a relatively routine grounder to third base that Logan Forsythe booted, allowing Jordy Mercer to reach on the error. Hill stranded the runner to send the game into extras.
Having thrown just 95 pitches, Hill was back on the mound to start the 10th. He became the ninth pitcher in baseball history to take a no-hitter into extra-innings, and the first since Pedro Martinez on June 3, 1995.
It call came crashing down, however, as Josh Harrison broke up the no-hitter with a walk-off home run. Hill finished with 10 strikeouts, one shy of matching his season high.
Prior to Forsythe’s error, the Dodgers had backed Hill with stellar defensive play. He also helped his cause by making a tag on Josh Bell before he was able to step on first base.
Bell was initially ruled safe but the Dodgers successfully challenged the call. Considering it came in the second inning, the significance of the play was not yet realized.
Adrian Gonzalez did his part to preserve the perfect game by making a sliding catch in the fourth inning on Harrison’s bunt attempt. Chase Utley made a spectacular diving catch in the eighth to rob Bell of a leadoff single.
While Hill was in the process of chasing history, the Dodgers were collecting plenty of hits off Trevor Williams but had nothing to show for it. Through the eighth inning they were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
Their most prominent threat came in the fourth, when Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig combined for back-to-back singles to put two on with nobody out. Williams intentionally walked Austin Barnes to load the bases with two outs and got Hill to line out.
Then in the seventh, Forsythe led off with a double and Chris Taylor worked a two-out walk, only for both to be stranded by Corey Seager. Before grounding out, Seager extended his hitting streak to 12 games and was 3-for-3 on the night.
The Dodgers stranded Taylor after his two-out in the ninth, and didn’t have anyone reach in the 10th. Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in September 1965 still stands as the only of its kind in franchise history.
Hill’s extra-innings complete game was the first by a Dodgers pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in September 1987.