Sounds crazy, but that's what happened in Texas. With two out in the seventh, Ortiz lofted a lazy pop-up shallow right field only to have it drop between right fielder Alex Rios and shortstop [playing the shift] Rougned Odor. Until that point, Darvish had a perfect game going and had retired 20 straight batters.
He would get the win in an 8-0 rout of Boston.
While Ortiz waited on first base and Mike Napoli was working a walk, the bloop hit was ruled an error on Rios. Had the Red Sox managed to scrape together a base hit at any point prior in the game, the call would have been a single.
Ortiz came up again in the top of the ninth with two out and drilled a single through the Rangers' shift. It was his second unofficial hit of the night, but the only one that would count. On Darvish's 126th pitch of the game, Ortiz's ground ball found its way past a diving Odor, who was again playing in shallow right as the extra man on that side of the field. Odor gave a far-better effort on the ball than Rios did on Ortiz's previous at-bat, and yet that ball was called a hit.
Perhaps it too should be been ruled an error given the standard set earlier in the evening.
The charitable and possibly flexible scoring leaves one wondering, how big an asterisk would you have placed next to this no-hitter had it occurred and been listed in Cooperstown.
Funny thing about baseball. This sport that is so laden with tradition and statistics leaves so much to the imagination. We can compute someone's WAR down to Tuesday afternoons in June. But no-hitters can be determined on a scorer's whim. The game's imagination can come in the form of a botched replay system or the humanity of a hometown scorer in Arlington, Texas, when the hometown starting pitcher is throwing a no-hitter.
Imagine the reaction in Texas if the situation were reversed and Clay Buchholz had a no-hitter with two out in the seventh and a blooper fell in without touching a player. E9? Doubt it.
It's hard to recall after watching him struggle again Friday that Buchholz once indeed threw a no-hitter himself, in the second start of his career back in 2007. That night seems like a lifetime ago in term's of Buchholz's effectiveness and reliability since he slept funny last June.
Players can be charged with an error if they don't touch the ball on certain plays, according to Rule 10.12(a)(1) and the subsequent comment, which reads:
"It is not necessary that the fielder touch the ball to be charged with an error. If a ground ball goes through a fielder's legs or a fly ball falls untouched and, in the scorer's judgment, the fielder could have handled the ball with ordinary effort, the official scorer shall charge such fielder with an error. The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorers judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball.
As one can see here, Odor ran a considerable distance to try and make the catch and was playing the ball, not Rios. But Rios got the error. Suppose you had to give it to someone?
"Normally, 10 out of 10 times, that's a base hit," Boston Manager John Farrell said after the game.
This is why "perfect" games are indeed perfect. There is no room for interpretation. That is unless you're Armando Galarraga of the Tigers, you have retired 26 straight batters without allowing a baserunner and Jim Joyce is working first base. Joyce's blown call that cost Galarraga his perfect game in 2010 has become the stuff of both bad umpiring and great sportsmanship legend.
"It was the biggest call of my career," a contrite and apologetic Joyce said after that game, "and I kicked it. I just cost that kid a perfect game."
Joyce met Galarraga at home plate the following night and the two shook hands in a tremendous example of class and sportsmanship.
Not sure if that was sportsmanship or charity going on in Arlington Friday night. Darvish was effective enough against Boston. All that concern about the Red Sox not being able to hit this season was manifested in his performance. Just when you thought the Red Sox were going to crack that elusive .500 barrier, they go either 20 batter or 26 batters without a legitimate hit, depending on your geographical baseball preferences.
But why tarnish Darvish's performance with such a blatant gift call? Darvish fanned 12 batters and was flat-out nasty all night, even past the 100-pitch mark. Rios watched as Odor tried to make the play for sure, but that is a hit 99.99 percent of the time. A hit should be a hit 100 percent of the time.
There's no reason why it should have been any different on Friday in that situation. Would it have been a hit in the first inning? Or the third? Probably. What then mysteriously makes it not a hit in the seventh.
The wonders of baseball continue to amaze.
Someday, the sport might even get a replay correct.
The OBF Blog is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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