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Cleveland right-hander Triston McKenzie retired the first 23 Detroit Tigers he faced on Sunday and came within four outs of pitching the 24th perfect game in MLB history. Had McKenzie been able to complete the bid for history, then his would have been the first perfect game in the major leagues since the Mariners‘ Félix Hernández achieved the rare feat exactly nine years ago, on Aug. 15, 2012.
Triston McKenzie’s perfect game/no-hit bid ends at 7 2/3 innings.
McKenzie was the 10th individual with a perfect game bid of at least 7 2/3 IP since the last perfect game in @MLB 9 years ago today. pic.twitter.com/0oNoIXgrhF
McKenzie’s near-historic effort also would’ve counted as the record-setting ninth no-hitter of the 2021 season. As of Tyler Gilbert‘s Saturday no-no, the 2021 season holds the modern record for no-hitters in a season and overall is tied with the 1884 season, in which eight no-hitters were thrown.
McKenzie lost his bid with two outs in the eighth inning when Harold Castro lined a 2-1 fastball to right field:
Hittin’ Harold Castro ensures the 24th perfect game in MLB history won’t be tossed today. #DetroitRoots pic.twitter.com/w8o7eq3KRm
Shortly thereafter McKenzie regrouped to strike out Willi Castro to end the eighth and yield this final line for the game:
Emmanuel Clase pitched a perfect ninth to secure an 11-0 win for Cleveland (box score).
McKenzie very nearly lost the perfect game in the sixth when Victor Reyes slashed a 2-1 breaking ball to the opposite field. It was almost good for extra bases, but the ball landed foul by just two or three feet. He survived another close call in the eight when Jeimer Candelario pulled a fly ball to right field that almost landed fair.
McKenzie thrived all day in Detroit thanks to command of his fastball and excellent use of his hard-breaking overhand curve in pitcher’s counts. Among the Detroit hitters suffocated by McKenzie was DH Miguel Cabrera, who remains stuck on 499 career home runs after going 0 for 3 on Sunday.
.@T_eazy24 was absolutely dealing this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/U36AvRFYJ6
The 24-year-old McKenzie entered Sunday’s start in Detroit with an ERA of 5.66 across 16 starts and one relief appearance this season. That figure has now been reduced to 5.12.
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