One thing I have never seen in person is a no-hitter or a perfect game, either in the majors or the minors. They are pretty rare so it’s not something you really expect but that’s the beauty of baseball, anything can happen on any given night. That brings this edition of C’s Rewind to the night of June 28, 2014 when the Vancouver Canadians hosted the Tri-City Dust Devils at Nat Bailey Stadium. The pitching matchup featured a pair of lefties with the C’s Jairo Labourt going against Rockies prospect Helmis Rodriguez.
Labourt started the game by walking the Dust Devils leadoff man Cesar Galvez but he managed to pick him off at first one out later. The Dominican was buoyed by that development as he struck out the next four hitters, the last three swinging to strike out the side in the second inning. The 6-foot-4 hurler walked the leadoff batter in the third inning but retired the next 10 in a row before issuing another walk with one out in the sixth. He would erase that runner by inducing a comebacker and starting a 1-6-3 double play to end his night.
It looked like Labourt’s effort was going to be for naught as the C’s were held off the scoreboard over the first five innings. Their best chance came in the fourth when they strung together two walks from Franklin Barreto and Sean Hurley and a single from Michael De La Cruz. However, Barreto was picked off at first to short-circuit that rally.
Barreto would atone for his baserunning gaffe in the sixth with a one-out walk and would make it to second on a Ryan McBroom single to left. Barreto was able to make it down to third on a wild pitch and Hurley brought him home by lifting an opposite-field sacrifice fly to right. All of a sudden, Labourt had a chance to pick up a W!
Andrew Case took over in the seventh and struck out the first man he faced in a perfect seventh. The New Brunswick native retired the first hitter of the eighth with a groundball and induced weak contact to the next hitter, Josh Fuentes, who got under one. However, that blooper would drop just in front of Roemon Fields in center field and that ended the no-hit bid much to the dismay of the crowd. Case rebounded to get the next two hitters on a pop-up and a strikeout.
Brett Barber entered the game in the ninth and he kept the ball down, producing three consecutive groundball outs to save Labourt’s first Northwest League victory as the C’s held off the Dust Devils 1-0.
Here was my comment on Batter’s Box about that near-historic night.
That eighth inning hit off Case was a bloop single that Roemon Fields could not come up with. Labourt was throwing gas last night. He was around 93-94 MPH but did hit 97 and 98. His offspeed stuff was 83-85. Franklin Barreto scored the winning run by drawing a walk, advancing to second on a single and stealing third even though the ball just dribbled a few inches from the catcher. He then scored on a Sean Hurley sacrifice fly. Barreto showed some nice range on a couple of plays at short. Jonathan Davis also made a nice running catch in left but stumbled into the wall. Hope he finds a good chiropractor.
That night just added to my list of “close but no cigar” games I’ve seen when it comes to no-hit bids.
My Major League No-Hit Misses
- C.C. Sabathia could have easily had one against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was with Milwaukee in 2008. Future Blue Jay Andy LaRoche got aboard on an infield single to the mound on a bang-bang play at first.
- Dustin McGowan‘s near miss in 2007 against Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies at the Dome as Jeff Baker broke it up.
- A 19 year-old Felix Hernandez had a no-no going against the Jays in 2005 until Corey Koskie ruined it in the eighth
- Roy Halladay‘s bid for one against the Detroit Tigers in 2003. Former Jay Kevin Witt did the dirty deed.
- Woody Williams no-hit the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998 in the Rays’ first game in Toronto for seven innings before Kevin Stocker spoiled the party.
- Dave Stieb should have had one in 1989 against Milwaukee as he gave up just an “infield single” to third to Robin Yount. I remember Kelly Gruber mishandled the ball and he admitted the next day the play should have been ruled an error.
I still hold out hope I will see a no-hitter from the C’s or the Blue Jays in person one day.