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Josh Beckett no-hitter
2010 season, week 14, WCW@SCS, game 2.

(via Noel Steere)
(Long -- I got a little carried away with the reporting, but damn, that was really cool, and almost *really* cool!)

SPARKLE CITY, July 9, 2010 - Sluggers' ace Josh Beckett retired the first 26 Washtenaw City Warpath batters he faced tonight, then surrendered a controversial walk to pinch hitter Henry Blanco, but preserved his no-hitter by getting the toughest out in the Washtenaw lineup, the legendary Derek Jeter, to line out to defensive replacement Omar Infante.

Beckett was dominating the entire night, striking out 14, but he almost gave up a hit in the very first inning to Curtis Granderson, when the Warpath center fielder hit a looping liner into right field that Randy Winn bolted in to catch on his shoestrings.  Granderson almost ended the perfect game and the shutout in his very next at bat when he hit a long drive in the alley in right center, but Marlon Byrd was able to pull it in right at the wall.

Meanwhile, the Sluggers began to live up to their name, with two home runs by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman an RBI double by Manny Ramirez, and an RBI single by Gerardo Parra to make the score 5-0 after 7 innings.

"After the top of the 7th, I started thinking I had a shot." Beckett told Sluggers' announcer Vin Scully after the game.  "They have a very tough lineup, but it starts with Jeter, Granderson and Werth.  Then we just went kind of nuts in the 8th, and I just tried to stay where I was in my head."

Beckett was referring to a strange wrinkle in an already historic game:  With the game already somewhat out of hand, Washtenaw manager Todd Morgan removed his star pitcher Felix Hernandez and inserted Ramon Troncoso.  14 batters and 10 hits later, the Sluggers had added 8 runs to turn a 5-0 game into a 13-0 laugher. In an ordinary game, this would have become an opportunity for fans to leave early, and for players to relax, but no one was leaving, and no one was relaxing.  Except, in a way, for Beckett.

Throughout the inning the cameras would cut away from the plentiful action his teammates were providing to focus on Beckett sitting alone, looking out onto the field.

"It was very Zen," Beckett explained.  "I wasn't thinking about anything the whole time.  I was just watching our guys getting hit after hit after hit.  I have a few things I do during long innings to stay loose, but with only one more inning to go I wasn't too worried about my arm.  I just needed to stay where I was and not worry about anything else.

"I know I must have been quiet while we were scoring all those runs, but I just accepted that I was where I was.  It's not like anyone was going to ask me if I was OK," Beckett grinned.

54 minutes after Beckett came into the dugout to end the top of the 8th inning, Lance Berkman flew out to center for the last out in bottom of the frame.  Beckett jogged out to the mound, the 50,000+ fans in attendance rose to their feet and wouldn't sit down again.

With the game so far out of hand, Morgan decided to rest the players that were coming up to bat in the inning:  Jeff Baker, Kenji Johjima, and Ryan Roberts (filling in for the injured Adam LaRoche).  "Obviously it's a big deal, but I still have a team to run, and we're trying to win the other 90 or so games left in the season.  Hit or no hit, we weren't coming back to win this one.  Maybe I should have had Sut try to bunt his way on instead?"  Morgan was referring to his first pinch hitter, Drew Sutton, who's bunting has garnered him better acclaim than his hitting.

Sutton managed to handle a 0-1 inside fastball, hitting a solid line drive, but it was right at second baseman Freddy Sanchez for the first out.

"It's 12:14 am, and Beckett has two outs to go!"  Sluggers' announcer Vin Scully told the television and radio audience.  The IBL Network had cut in at the top of the 8th, and viewers with a sense of history had to have some idea of what was happening:  Scully had denoted the time at every out when he called Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965.  Could Scully call another perfect game, 45 years after the first?

Nick Hundley was called as the next pinch hitter, allowing Kenji Johjima the opportunity for some rest.  As Johjima explained later through an interpreter, however, "I wasn't going to leave.  He was very difficult to hit that night, and if he was going to get a perfect game, I at least wanted to have a good seat."

The long rest between the 8th and 9th may have had an effect on Beckett.  In the previous innings he was extremely sharp, either using his fastball to blow the ball by hitters (800s) or his sharp breaking ball and splitter to get them to hit easy ground balls right at his defense (900s).  The fact that a weak hitter like Sutton was able to make solid contact probably meant that Beckett was pitching against the odds, and it was a question of which would come first:  Two outs, or a base hit.

Hundley worked the count full, and Beckett was forced to throw a fastball down the middle that other hitters might have crushed (273), but Hundley, who's prone to striking out, swung right through it for the second out of the inning.

Scully intoned:  "It's 12:16 am, and Beckett has only one more out to go!  The crowd is simply electrified at Josh Beckett's performance.  Twenty-six Washtenaw batters have faced Mister Beckett, and all twenty-six have returned to the dugout empty handed."  Beckett wasn't the only person at the top of their game that night.  As Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein recently said on his podcast Up And In:  "Scully's a national treasure.  If you haven't listened to him yet, well, I just can't help you, you must be crazy."

Jeff Baker, who was instrumental in Washtenaw's win yesterday by turning two line drive double plays, was also removed for pinch hitter Henry Blanco.  Blanco was a recent acquisition from the Ottowa Habaneros, presumably brought in as a platoon partner for Hundley once the playoffs begin, as Blanco hits well against lefties.  In this case, it wasn't a matter of a good matchup as simply trying not to become the answer to a trivia quesiton.

"I just tried to treat it like any other at bat," Blanco said.  "We knew he was on, but you still go up and hit.  That's why we play, right?"

Beckett fell behind quickly with two fastballs that were high and inside.  While radar gun readings are notoriously sketchy, both pitches registered 92 mph when earlier in the evening they were consistently in the 95-97 mph range.  Still a plus pitch, but one that major league hitters can handle with a lot more assurance than the blinding pills he was throwing before.

Blanco fouled off the next fastball for 2-1, and Beckett felt that he had set up Blanco for a pitch on the outside corner.  He went into his windup and delivered the pitch in much the same area he had throughout the game, getting called strikes or weak swings at will.  Completely unprepared for the location, Blanco let the pitch go by and hit Victor Martinez's mitt right where he had placed it.

Ball three.

Martinez held the ball a little bit longer on his throw back to Beckett, but said nothing.  "You can't get into it with the ump there.  You just can't.  There's no way I want the ump to be pissed at us when we're trying to get a perfect game.  But I thought it was a strike, yeah."

Home plate umpire Jim Joyce disagreed, and Beckett was at a three ball count for only the second time in the game, but also the second time this inning.  Beckett felt that he couldn't give in and throw two more pitches down the middle, so he threw his next pitch in the same location, hoping Joyce would return to calling it the way he had the first eight innings.

Ball four.

Beckett, normally very fiery, must have still been in a Zen state, as he showed no emotion and simply took the next ball from Martinez.  "I had gotten that pitch all night, but I had been so focused for the entire night, and was starting to feel it tire me out, that I just wanted to get to the next hitter.  I didn't care anymore what the ump thought, I just wanted the out."

Joyce was unavailable for comment, per IBL policy regarding umpires discussing controversial calls.

Boos showered Joyce as Blanco trotted to first, but they were somewhat muted, as the possibility remained of Beckett getting a no-hitter.  However, he would have to retire one of the toughest outs in baseball:  Derek Jeter.

"De-rek...Je-ter".  Vin Scully is a national treasure, but when Warpath announcer Bob Sheppard announces Jeter's name, it's like a pronouncement from God himself.  There's no question of Jeter's greatness; Sheppard's voice simply affirms it.

Jeter dug in, ready to hit whatever came his way, or let it go if it wasn't to his liking.  That's the genius of Jeter:  The skill and aggressiveness to spray line drives all over the field, and the patience and savy not to get himself out with the pitcher's pitch.  Beckett saw no easy way out.

"If I wasn't getting the corner anymore, I was just going to have to come in and hope for the best.  He's not swinging at the outside pitch, and I'm not standing out there any longer than I have to, so let's dance."

Perhaps less Zen than before, Beckett delivered a fastball on the inside part of the plate, closer to the middle than he might have liked.  Jeter pounced, flashing his wrists through the strike zone to bring the head of the bat to the front of the plate in time to meet the pitch.  The crack must have sent 50,000 hearts into the pits of their stomachs, only to have them leap through their throats as 50,000 pairs of eyes followed the tragectory of the ball into Infante's waiting glove.

"And Beckett's done it!  26 batters down, a lone walk, and a line drive right into Infante's glove, and Josh Beckett has pitched a no-hitter!"  It won't be as historic as his call of 45 years ago, but for Sparkle City fans it will be cherished for as long as they live.

      1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9    R  H  E
WCW  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0    0  0  1
SCS  0  0  0  2  0  1  2  8  0    13 21  0

BATTERS  WCW                          AB  R  H RI 2B 3B HR SB CS BB  K PL PR
1 ss      WCW  NYA  Jeter              4  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  4
2 cf      WCW  DET  Granderson        3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  3
3 rf      WCW  PHI  Werth              3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  3
4 1b      WCW  LAN  Blake              3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  3
5 dh      WCW  LAN  Thome              3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  3
6 lf      WCW  BAL  Reimold            3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  3
7 2b      WCW  CHN  Baker              2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  2
7 ph      WCW  CIN  Sutton            1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1
8 c        WCW  SEA  Johjima            2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2
8 ph      WCW  SD  Hundley            1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  1
9 3b      WCW  ARI  Roberts            2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  2
9 ph      WCW  SD  Blanco            0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  1

TOTALS for WCW                        27  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1 14  0 28

PITCHERS  WCW                  IP  H  R ER BB  K HR
L WCW  SEA  Hernandez          7.0 11  5  4  1  6  2
- WCW  LAN  Troncoso          1.0 10  8  8  1  1  0

TOTALS for WCW                8.0 21 13 12  2  7  2

LOB: 1
E: 1 - Blake.
PB: none.
GIDP: none.
SH: none.
SF: none.
HBP: none.
WP: none.
IBB: none.
BALK: none.

BATTERS  SCS                          AB  R  H RI 2B 3B HR SB CS BB  K PL PR
1 rf      SCS  SF  Winn              6  1  2  2  0  0  0  1  0  0  1  0  6
2 c        SCS  BOS  Martinez          5  2  2  0  1  0  0  0  0  1  1  0  6
3 1b      SCS  HOU  Berkman            6  1  3  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  6
4 dh      SCS  LAN  Ramirez            5  3  2  3  1  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  5
5 3b      SCS  WAS  Zimmerman          4  3  4  3  0  0  2  0  0  1  0  0  5
6 lf      SCS  ARI  Parra              4  0  2  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  4
6 cf      SCS  FLA  Maybin            1  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1
7 2b      SCS  SF  SanchezF.          5  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  5
8 cf-lf    SCS  TEX  Byrd              5  1  2  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2  0  5
9 ss      SCS  CHN  Theriot            3  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  3
9 ss      SCS  ATL  Infante            2  0  2  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2

TOTALS for SCS                        46 13 21 13  5  0  2  1  0  2  7  0 48

PITCHERS  SCS                  IP  H  R ER BB  K HR
W SCS  BOS  Beckett            9.0  0  0  0  1 14  0

TOTALS for SCS                9.0  0  0  0  1 14  0

LOB: 10
E: none.
PB: none.
GIDP: none.
SH: none.
SF: none.
HBP: none.
WP: none.
IBB: none.
BALK: none.

Game 2
grs version 3.0.1
Night, Warm, Pt. Cloudy, No Wind, No Precip

Starting pitchers - Hernandez for WCW, and Beckett for SCS

WCW 1: Jeter K. Granderson fly out ofr-ll-9-ss. Werth K.

SCS 1: Winn foul PO 5(WP&PB). Martinez HG 4. Berkman 2b rcf. Ramirez K.

WCW 2: Blake K. Thome foul PO 5(WP&PB). Reimold PO 6.

SCS 2: Zimmerman 1b ifr-utm-6-tfh. Zimmerman not held at 1b. PB, Zimmerman
to second. Parra HG 4, Zimmerman to third. Corners in. SanchezF. PO
6. Byrd HF 7.

WCW 3: Baker K. Johjima RG 5. Roberts K.

SCS 3: Theriot fly out 9(E!). (rf makes play on sinking liner on dry
field.) Winn 1b lcf. Hit and run. Martinez K. SB, Winn to second.
Berkman SG 3.

WCW 4: Jeter HG 6. Granderson WT dfrc(53-12). Werth K.

SCS 4: Ramirez safe on E 3, Ramirez to first. Ramirez not held at
1b. Zimmerman HR lc, Zimmerman scores, Ramirez scores. Parra HF 9.
SanchezF. K. Byrd 1b gcf. Theriot FC ifr-utm-6-lg, Byrd out.

WCW 5: Blake HG 6. Thome K. Reimold K.

SCS 5: Winn K. Martinez SG 3. Berkman 1b lrf. Ramirez RG 6.

WCW 6: Baker K. Johjima SG 6. Roberts K.

SCS 6: Zimmerman HR lf, Zimmerman scores. Parra 1b lrf. SanchezF.
FC rg6(E?), Parra out, SanchezF. to first. Byrd K. Theriot HF 8.

WCW 7: Jeter K. Granderson HG 6. Werth HG 4.

SCS 7: Winn RG 4. Martinez 2b 9(E!). (rf loses ball in lights; E!-41.)
Berkman K. Ramirez 2b lcf, Martinez scores. Zimmerman BB. Parra 1b
gcf, Ramirez scores, Zimmerman to second. SanchezF. HF 8(PARK?).

WCW 8: Byrd moves to lf. Maybin now cf for SCS, batting 6. Infante
now ss for SCS, batting 9. Blake K. Thome K. Reimold HG 6.

SCS 8: Troncoso now pitching for WCW.  Byrd 1b lcf. Hit and run. Infante
1b ifr-dtl-5-tfh, Byrd to third. Infante not held at 1b. Winn FC rg4,
Byrd scores, Infante out, Winn to first. Martinez 1b lrf, Winn to
second. Berkman 2b rcf, Martinez to third, Winn scores. Troncoso fatigues.
Ramirez 1b gcf, Berkman scores, Martinez scores. Ramirez not held
at 1b Zimmerman 1b gcf, Ramirez to second. Maybin 1b gcf, Ramirez
scores, Zimmerman to second. SanchezF. 1b lcf(PARK?), Zimmerman scores,
Maybin to second. Byrd K. Infante 2b lcf, SanchezF. to third, Maybin
scores. Winn 1b inf, Infante to third, SanchezF. scores. Martinez
BB, Winn to second. Berkman HF 8.
WCW 0 SCS 13

WCW 9: Sutton ph for Baker, batting 7. Sutton line drive 4. Hundley
ph for Johjima, batting 8. Hundley K. Blanco ph for Roberts, batting
9. Blanco BB. Blanco not held at 1b. Jeter line drive 6.  Josh Beckett
no hits Washtenaw!!!
WCW 0 SCS 13
2010-josh-beckett-no-hitter.txt · Last modified: 2015/08/20 14:55 by rpeltz