Hyun-Jin Ryu perfect through seven innings day after Josh Beckett's no-hitter
For a while there, it looked like Hyun-jin Ryu was going to out-pitch Josh Beckett the day after Beckett threw the first no-hitter of the 2014 season, as he set down the first 21 Reds he faced at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, striking out seven. However, after a long bottom of the seventh — in which Ryu came to the plate, reached on an error, and came around to score as the Dodgers extended their lead to 4-0 — Cincinnati's Todd Frazier doubled on Ryu's second pitch in the top of the eighth to end the perfect game bid.
Adding in Paul Maholm's scoreless eighth inning in the Dodgers' loss in Philadelphia on Saturday, L.A. didn't allow a hit in 17 innings prior to Frazier's double, tying the longest such streak in the last 50 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only other team in the last 50 years to hold its opponents hitless for 17 innings is the crosstown Angels, who threw 17 consecutive scoreless innings from May 1-3 in 2012. Jerome Williams started that streak by not allowing a hit in the final six innings of his complete game against the Twins on May 1. Dan Haren ended it by allowing four consecutive hits to the Blue Jays to start the third inning on May 3. In between, Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter on May 2nd.
The Dodgers' 17 hitless innings set a team record, breaking the previous mark of 12 compiled in 1976 without the help of a no-hitter. No team has ever had pitchers throw no-hitters in consecutive games, though the 1917 Browns did get no-hitters on consecutive days, but the second of those came in the nightcap of a double-header, thus two games after the no-hitter the previous day.
As for Ryu, he had all four of his pitches working (fastball, curve, slider, changeup) and was locating and mixing all four expertly and unpredictably throughout the first four innings. He went to a three-ball count on just two of those first 21 hitters, one of those being Ryan Ludwick, who battled Ryu for 11 pitches with one out in the fifth before swinging over a slider for strike three. Outside of that at-bat and a couple of worrisome soft grounders to third base in the fourth inning — on which Justin Turner, filling in for the injured Juan Uribe, made nice, charging plays to throw out Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart — Ryu cruised through those first seven innings on a mere 82 pitches. After that rally in the bottom of the seventh, however, Ryu retired just one more batter. Ludwick followed Frazier's double with a single that pushed Frazier to third. Chris Heisey plated Frazier with a sac fly, erasing the shutout, and Brayan Peña followed with a single that drove Ryu from the game. Brian Wilson then proceeded to allow both Ludwick and Peña to score after walking Skip Schumaker and giving up an RBI double into the right-center-field gap by Hamilton. The only reason Schumaker didn't come around to tie the game on that hit was because Yasiel Puig made a back-handed stop to cut the ball off in the gap and fired it back in to the cut-off man in a single motion. Kenley Jansen recorded the final four outs of the game for the save and a 4-3 Dodgers win.