SAN FRANCISCO – Ross Stripling threw a no-hitter through 7.1 innings, but was controversially pulled from the game by manager Dave Roberts and the Giants came back to beat the Dodgers 3-2 in extra innings on Friday night.
On a rainy night in San Francisco, rookie right-hander Stripling was on his way to making Major League history, before lightning struck a potentially legendary night.
Stripling threw 7 and 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before walking Angel Pagan in the eighth inning. Stripling had reached 100 pitches, and two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Roberts thought it was time to give him the hook.
"It's a great story, but I made the decision if a
runner gets on base in the eighth inning I was going to make the move," Roberts told reporters after the game. "I wasn't
going to risk his health and career. It was a no-brainer."
Karmically, the first batter after Stripling exited the game – backup catcher Trevor Brown -- hit a two-run, game-tying home run, and the Shakespearean drama took a tragic turn.
What happened next was painful to watch to say the least. Hatcher got out of the inning, but not before arguing balls and strikes. Roberts ran onto the field to protect his pitcher and was promptly ejected by the home plate umpire.
"Things happen," Hatcher told TWC SportsNet's Alanna Rizzo of the game-tying home run. "But you still have to make pitches."
The game would go to extra innings, where Brandon Crawford hit a game-winning, walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th off Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton. Oh, how quickly ecstasy can turn to agony in sports.
Stripling received a no-decision, but became just the eighth pitcher since 1913 to have an ERA (1.23) without allowing a hit.
"The competitor in you doesn't want to come out no matter what," Stripling said. "I think part of me had a little bit of weight off my shoulders. Overall, it was a mixture of emotions."
The argument will carry on throughout the season: was pulling Stripling in the eighth inning in the middle of a no-hitter the right decision or should he have been left in the game to chase history?
Regardless of what side you're on, the game – which took place at the heart of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry – will forever live in the rivalry's lore. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, they were on the wrong side of the outcome on Friday.
Players of the Game:
Ross Stripling: 1 run, 0 hits, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts in 7.1 IP.
Joc Pederson: 1-for-4 with a double and run scored.
Brandon Crawford: 1-for-4 game-winning, walk-off home run.
Trevor Brown: 1-for-3 with a two-run, game-tying home run.
1. A 'Bumpus' in the Road: Ross Stripling was in the midst of becoming the first pitcher since Bumpus Jones in 1892 to throw a no-hitter in his MLB debut. Unfortunately, we will never know how Stripling's quest for history would have ended as manager Dave Roberts pulled him from the game with the no-hitter still in progress.
2. Bye, Bye, Doc: Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, was ejected from the game just seconds after Trevor Brown's game-tying home run, and minutes after his decision to pull Ross Stripling in the middle of his no-hitter. Roberts ran from the dugout to argue balls and strikes with the home-plate umpire before he was sent to the showers. It was Roberts' first career ejection in just his fifth career game.
3. Smokin' Ace: Stripling told OC Register's Bill Plunkett that he watched a movie before every start in college. Not one to break with tradition, Stripling got halfway through Smokin' Aces starring Jeremy Piven and Ray Liotta before the game. "Don't ruin the ending," he joked.
Stripling said he got halfway thru "Smokin' Aces" with Jeremy Piven/Ray Liotta before tonight's start. So don't tell him how it ends (2/2)— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 9, 2016
Dodgers (3-2): Clayton Kershaw heads to the mound tomorrow in the first act of the "Kershaw-Bumgarner" matchup of MVPs.
Giants (4-1): Madison Bumgarner takes the ball for San Francisco in the third game of the rivalry series set for 1:10 PM PST.
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