What Ervin Santana pulled off today in Cleveland was not only a bit unusual because the Indians scored a run but also because the Angels actually trailed in the game, 1-0, after the first inning and had to make a comeback to win it — while their pitcher was throwing a no-hitter.
Ever happen before? Todd Betzag of the Elias Sport Bureau has the answer:
On July 29, 1968 — 43 years ago this Friday — the Cincinnati Reds’ George Culver (linked here) no-hit Philadelphia in the second game of a doubleheader, 6-1, at Connie Mack Stadium.
The Phillies scored in the bottom of the second to take the 1-0 lead — Richie Allen reached first on an error given to Reds’ first baseman Tony Perez, and went to second when a second error was charged to second baseman Woody Woodward. Allen moved to third on a groundout and, one batter later, scored the unearned run on Cookie Rojas’ sacrifice fly.
FYI: Rojas is the father of Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas, who called Santana’s no-no today for FSW.
In the top of the third, the visiting Reds took the lead with three runs and didn’t look back (box score linked here from Retrosheet.org).
And whatever happened to Culver? He ended up pitching for the Dodgers in 1973, and until recently was the Dodgers’ spring training pitching coordinator in Glendale, Ariz.
A come-from-behind no-no also happened on Aug. 25, 1967:
== Dean Chance, a former Angels’ Cy Young Award winner pitching for Minnesota, no-hit Cleveland, 2-1. The Indians, as they did Wednesday against the Angels, scored a run in the first inning at home — but this time it was earned. It came on two walks, and error, and Chance’s wild pitch. The Twins came back with one in the second and one in the sixth. Chance walked five and struck out eight in that game.
== Three pitchers have thrown no-hitters and lost because they’re team couldn’t score enough runs. In 1967, Steve Barber and Stu Miller lost for Baltimore even while no-hitting Detroit, 2-1. In 1964, Houston’s Ken Johnson no-hit Philadelphia but lost, 1-0, on an unearned run at the Astrodome.
And in 2008, Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined on a no-hitter against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium through eight innings, but lost the game, 1-0, and were not credited for a no-no because they didn’t go at least nine innings since the Dodgers didn’t have to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
Big thanks to Paul Olden , the New York Yankees’ public address announcer and former MLB and NFL play-by-play man, for passing on that gem.