Right-hander Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks lost his no-hit bid in the eighth inning.
Right-hander Zack Grienke of the Arizona Diamondbacks may not come this close to a no-hitter in several starts. Tying a season-high with 11 strike-outs and impeccable control, Greinke appeared on his way to his first career no-hitter.
Entering the eighth inning Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Greinke allowed one base runner to that point. He walked shortstop Jordy Mercer to lead -off the Bucos third, but Mercer was then tossed out by catcher Jeff Mathis on an attempt to steal second.
With single runs in the second and third, that support appeared to be more than enough. Greinke continued to cruise through the Pirates like a hot knife through butter until the eighth.
Then, left-handed hitting Gregory Polanco lead off and drilled a pitch right down the right field line. First base umpire Ed Hickox hesitated for a moment and indicated the ball was foul. Then, Polanco hammered an inside slider into the right field stands and Greinke’s date with immortality was placed on hold. That was the only hit allowed in Greinke’s 2-1 victory over the Pirates before 17,527 in Chase Field.
With the win, the Diamondbacks improved to 14-6 at home and that’s the best home record in the National League.
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In franchise history, the two Arizona no-hitters, a perfect game from Randy Johnson and one by Edwin Jackson, were both accomplished on the road. Giving up his first hit in the eighth is a career best for Greinke. Previously, the longest stretch from the start of a game to allowing his first hit was 5.0 innings against Detroit on Sept. 10, 2004 while pitching for the Kansas City Royals. Greinke also improved to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.79
If Greinke was right around the plate, he told Venom Strikes there was a reason.
"The slider was good and for the first three innings, I was going. Then, I settled down and the slider was in for strikes."
Regarding a no-hitter, Greinke told Venom Strikes he began to think about the white-wash around the sixth inning. That was the same time in which manager Torey Lovullo turned to Mike Butcher, his pitching coach, and asked about Greinke’s length in this one.
Once Polanco hit the homer and the no-hitter was lost, then Lovullo began to think about pushing the right buttons to win this game. That’s when he decided to go to Fernando Rodney to close this down.
In his last outings, Rodney has been nothing short of an adventure, and his attempt to save this one for Greinke seem to repeat history.
Quickly, he got behind lead-off hitter Max Moroff before Moroff grounded to first. Then Rodney fanned pitch hitter Alen Hanson but walked Josh Harrison. When Harrison attempted to steal second, Mathis, from his knees, made a strong throw to second and Brandon Drury applied a quick tag. On the close play, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call, but crew chief Jerry Meals, after reviewing the video, confirmed the out at second and that ended the game.
Afterward, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that once Greinke’s no-hit bid was lost, a complete game for Greinke was not considered.
"We always want to protect the players. Once the no-hit was lost, it was time to take (Greinke) out. It was my decision not to send Greinke out for the ninth. It was time for (Rodney) to do this job, and things worked out well."
For the record
With 12 strikeouts by the Diamondbacks’ pitchers Thursday night against the Pirates, the team set a major-league record for 10 or more strikeouts in 10 consecutive home games.
Before Thursday’s game, the Diamondbacks returned reliever Jake Barrett from his rehab assignment at Advanced-A Visalia and optioned to Triple-A Reno. Barrett was placed on the 10-day disabled list on March 31 with right shoulder inflammation.
The weekend set with the Pittsburgh Pirates continues Friday night. Look for lefty Patrick Corbin (2-43.89) to oppose righty Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 6.33). For Saturday, it’s righty Taijuan Walker (3-2, 3.83) taking on right-hander Trevor Williams (1-2, 7.98). In the finale Sunday afternoon, Robbie Ray (2-3, 4.14) opposes right-hander Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.23).
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Lovullo unconcerned with catchers’ lack of hitting"
Then, the New York Mets move in for three next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon to conclude the current home stand.