The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
A once-in-a-lifetime baseball game

Saturday’s baseball game at Comerica Park in Detroit started out kind of shaky. It had threatened to rain all morning and the weather forecast for the 1:10 afternoon game showed the game was in jeopardy. The game wound up getting postponed by an hour and twenty-two minutes. And true to the forecast, it did rain during the game. Yet it was how the game ended that made it one of the most memorable I have ever attended.

My son Lee, my son-in-law Kenny, my grandson Jackson and I had been in Cleveland two days before to take in games between the Guardians and the Kansas City Royals. The Guardians won both games handily, but it was no surprise since the Royals are a pretty pathetic team. Practically every Royals batter in the lineup was hitting around .220. It’s one of the reasons they are neck-and-neck with Oakland for being the worst team in the American League.

We anticipated a lot of offense from the Toronto Blue Jays in the contest against Detroit. Just the day before, the Blue Jays blew away the Tigers, 12-2, by collecting 14 hits backed by two home runs and three doubles. We were sure we’d see a repeat performance by Toronto.

The rain started almost immediately after the game got underway. Fortunately, we had bought ponchos on our walk to the stadium, just in case. They came in handy; otherwise, we would have been drenched. Remarkably, the game was never interrupted by the weather. We even remarked among ourselves that the game officials must have expected the inclement weather to clear out soon, to have not taken the teams off the field.

We expected former LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman, who is leading the American League in strikeouts, to have a double-digit strikeout game for the Blue Jays.

His opponent on the mound was Tigers pitcher Matt Manning, who was making his fifth start of the season. He had been recently called up from Triple-A Toledo.

Manning had a hard time gripping the wet ball during that first inning when it rained. He started out hitting Blue Jays leadoff batter Dante Bichette and walking Brandon Belt, he but managed to get out of the inning without yielding a hit or run.

On the other hand, Gausman also struggled during the first inning, allowing two runs on a single by Riley Greene (it was his bobblehead day), a double by Spencer Torkelson, and a triple by Kerry Carpenter.

The rain ended in the second inning and sunny skies dried out the drenched fans during the rest of the game.

Both pitchers settled into a routine. Gausman struck out seven batters in six innings, after which he was relieved by Nate Pearson.

Backed by sparkling defensive plays by Carpenter and Javier Baez, Manning held the Blue Jays at bay through six innings without a hit. But in the seventh, after Manning walked Cavan Biggio with two outs, the crowd was stunned when Tigers manager A. J. Hinch pulled Manning from the game. Hinch drew the ire of Tiger fans, who boisterously booed the move; after all, they were anxious to see a no-hitter. Spencer Turnbull was the last Tigers pitcher to hurl a no-hitter in 2021, against the Seattle Mariners.

Hard-throwing Jason Foley came in relief of Manning to get the final out of the seventh and then also blanked the Blue Jays in the eighth.

The crowd came to its feet, as another former LSU pitcher, Alex Lange, came in to close out the game and preserve the no-hitter in the ninth for the Tigers. He was tasked with facing the formidable top of the Blue Jays order consisting of Bichette, Belt, and the always dangerous Vlad Guerrero Jr.

Lange quickly retired Bichette on a strikeout and Belt on a fly ball and then induced Guerrero on a weak ground out to cinch the no-hitter. Detroit won the game, 2-0. History was made.

It was the first combined no-hitter in Tigers history. There have been only 318 no-hitters in the majors since 1876. Of these, there have been only 20 combined no-hitters. Considering there have been over MLB 237,000 games since 1876, the Tigers’ no-no was extremely rare.


It was my first time witnessing a major-league no-hitter in person. (I’ve seen a no-hitter and a perfect game in the minors when the New Orleans Zephyrs fielded a team.) This will now rank as the most memorable MLB game I’ve attended, replacing the one I saw in Atlanta in August 1978, when Pete Rose broke his 44-game hitting streak.

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