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On The Diamond: All On The Line Wager

San Francisco Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto lost his no-hit bid against the Los Angeles Dodgers in an unusual fashion on Saturday night. 

Cueto, who had held the Dodgers without a knock through five innings, started the sixth inning in seemingly harmless fashion when he coerced a flyball off Enrique Hernandez’s bat. Hernandez’s ball was hit moderately deep, but stayed in the air a long time. It should’ve been an easy out. The “should’ve been” part of that last sentence is a tip-off as to what happened next, so we’ll keep this brief: Hunter Pence lost track of the ball and had it fall behind him for a “triple.”

Take a look:

For those wondering, Statcast estimates that Hernandez’s batted ball had an expected batting average of .060 — or, in other words, it’s almost always an out.

Alas, that wasn’t the case on Saturday. You can argue that nonplays like Pence’s should be scored as errors, but that’s seldom the case. Rather, official scorers tend to withhold errors unless the fielder touches the ball, no matter how egregious the player is otherwise.

Hernandez subsequently scored on an Austin Barnes groundout, giving the Dodgers their first run of the night and dashing Cueto’s hopes for a shutout. Cueto would be removed before completing the sixth inning, albeit not before allowing a three-run homer to Justin Turner.

Had Cueto completed the no-hitter, it would’ve been the Giants’ first since Chris Heston threw a no-no against the New York Mets in June 2015. San Francisco had three other no-hitters during the 2010s: Tim Lincecum threw one in 2013 and 2014 (both against the San Diego Padres) and Matt Cain threw one in 2012 against the Houston Astros. 

Cueto’s no-hitter would’ve been the first of the 2020 season, and the first since Justin Verlander threw one against the Toronto Blue Jays last September. 


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