Perhaps for the last time, Vin Scully takes us into the ninth inning of a no-hit attempt
By Jon Weisman
Vin Scully is the king of calling no-hitters, after all. So, nearing the climax of his farewell season, maybe the baseball gods felt it was time for one more for the road.
At the end of a head-spinning day at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers were nealry no-hit for the third time in the past two seasons and the second time at Dodger Stadium in the past 362 days, with Matt Moore coming one out shy of completing the feat in a 4-0 San Francisco Giants victory.
Below, you’ll find some of the words Scully shared with us, in the twilight of his magical career.
Moore, who had allowed only an unearned run in 6 2/3 innings against the Dodgers this year in his last game before Tampa Bay traded him to the Bay Area, walked three and struck out seven. After a 24-pitch eighth inning, he was at 119 pitches but batted for himself in the top of the ninth and came out to the mound minutes later to try to get the final three outs.
Kiké Hernandez began the bottom of the ninth, and he smacked a 1-2 pitch to left center that absolutely looked like a hit off the bat.
“Curveball whacked to the gap, and here comes Span to make a circus catch!” Scully exclaimed. “Oh my gosh, that is the second tremendous catch by Denard Span to keep the no-hitter alive. And the Giants respond with applause. That looked like a sure extra-base hit — wow! And what a time to do it. And ‘wow’ says Matt Moore.’ … Two outs to go.”
Beginning the next at-bat with his 124th pitch, Moore went to a full count on Howie Kendrick.
“There’s a lot of drama going on in the Giant dugout, too,” Scully said. “Everybody on the railing rooting for Matt. (Bruce) Bochy counting pitches; they’re not quite sure what to do about it.”
Kendrick swung at the seventh pitch of the at-bat.
“Ground ball to third. Nice pick by (Eduardo) Nunez. All right, one out to go, and the Greek chorus that is the Giant clubhouse (sees) Corey Seager, on Seager Bobblehead Night.”
Seager stepped in to the batters’ box. Many fans at Dodger Stadium were on their feet.
Scully: “I’m sure there are a lot of Dodger fans now, who are saying, ‘He’s been so good for so long, I hope he gets it — maybe.”
Seager took a ball, swung and a strike. And then …
“Fastball, a little flare into right field — it’s gonna drop! A bloop single to right field, after two great catches by Denard Span, and that will do it for Matt Moore. One hundred and thirty-three pitches, and a blooper to right. And so it goes in this great game.”
“It seemed almost unfair– and he’s going to get a standing ovation as he walks back to the dugout — so many pitches, so many close shaves, and finally, a blooper breaks it.”
And so went the childlike wonder of the 67-year veteran broadcaster.
This would have been the 10th time the Dodgers have been no-hit since moving to Los Angeles in 1958 and 15th time in franchise history. Mike Fiers (at Houston) and Jake Arrieta (for the Cubs) each no-hit the Dodgers in August last year.
Moore ended up throwing 133 pitches, the most in baseball since Fiers threw 134. Justin Turner popped out against Santiago Casilla to end the game.
Bizarrely, Moore was pitching against Ross Stripling, who in his only previous game against the Giants, threw 7 1/3 no-hit innings. Stripling pitched three more shutout innings before San Francisco struck for three runs in the fourth inning, the last two on a Joe Panik home run.
An unearned run off Grant Dayton in the sixth accounted for the Giants’ fourth run.
Adrián González, who entered tonight with a 17-game hitting streak, had come the closest to a hit for the Dodgers in the second inning, lining one to left-center that a running Span caught near his shins.
San Francisco moved back within two games of the Dodgers in the National League West.