Rich Hill has been at the doorstep of history before. On Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, he nearly crossed that threshold once and for all, only to be dealt the most painful loss imaginable.
Hill carried a perfect game into the ninth inning, only to lose that on a Logan Forsythe error. He maintained his no-hit bid into the 10th inning, but lost that and the game, 1-0, on a walk-off home run by Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison.
Hill flirted with making history multiple times during the 2016 season, only for several different circumstances to block his path. Most notably, manager Dave Roberts removed Hill after seven perfect innings during a start last Sept. 11 when his reoccurring blister issues flared up.
There were no such issues for Hill or tough decisions for Roberts on Wednesday. Hill breezed through the Pirates order for the first eight innings without allowing a baserunner.
His arch nemesis this time around was his own offense, which couldn’t muster a single run against a trio of Pirates pitchers, and Harrison, who hit a rocket that just cleared the wall and avoided Curtis Granderson’s glove in left field.
The home run was Harrison’s 16th of the season, and it made some history. Harrison became the first player in MLB history to break a no-hitter with a walk-off homer.
But breaking up no-hitters isn’t exactly new territory for the two-time All-Star. In 2012, he broke up a Justin Verlander no-hit bid with one out in the ninth inning.
On the other side, all Hill can do is wonder what could have been.
The left-hander’s efficiency was off the charts in this outing. So too was his craftiness. With a fastball that rested in the high 80s, Hill changed speeds while mixing in a filthy curveball that kept Pirates batters off balance all night long. Hill peppered the strike zone, finishing with 10 strikeouts while throwing only 24 of his 99 pitches for balls the entire game.
Hill was also the beneficiary of a spectacular diving catch by Chase Utley, who robbed Josh Bell of a sure hit in the eighth inning.
Prior to that, the closest call came in the second inning when Bell was originally ruled safe in his bid for an infield single, only for replay to overturn the call.
It was a masterful performance to put it lightly. It just wasn’t enough to put Rich Hill in the history books.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –