The Indians took a no-hitter into the 9th inning of Thursday's game. Trevor Bauer had struck out 11 batters, but also walked 5, and it's nearly impossible to put up those kinds of totals without a high pitch count, so Bauer was finished after 6 innings. Kyle Crockett came in for the 7th, walked a man, but didn't allow any hits. Scott Atchison did the same in the 8th, walking a man, but allowing no hits.
The Indians were three outs away from the team's first no-hitter since Len Barker's perfect game on May 15, 1981.
Given the proximity from an historic event, many fans were surprised to see Terry Francona call on Nick Hagadone for the 9th inning. Hagadone struck out the leadoff man, but Jed Lowrie then hit a 400-foot home run to left-center field, ending the no-hit bid and the shutout. The outcry from many Indians fans on Twitter and in the GameThread here at LGT was immediate, with cursing Hagadone and questioning Francona both being popular angles.
Not me though, I was just fine with the home run. Almost happy about it, even.
The first no-hitter I remember being aware of was thrown by Mike Scott at the tail end of the 1986 season. That was the year I began playing t-ball and collecting baseball cards. I don't think I knew about the no-hitter when it happened, or for months and months after that. It was mentioned on Scott's card the following year though, which is when I learned about it. Tom Browning's perfect game a couple years later, I remember knowing about the next day, because I saw it in the newspaper. I was very impressed, and will always remember Tom Browning.
A few years after that the Orioles threw a no-hitter, but it hadn't been done by just one man. The starter had only made it part way, and then three other guys had come in to help finish it off.
I didn't like it.
Somehow it didn't feel like a "real" no-hitter to me. I was only 11 years old, but I'd already found something that offended my sense of accomplishment.
More than two decades later, I've never gotten over that initial dislike for the combined no-hitter. And so it that I'm glad the Tribe's 34-year streak without a no-no won't end with what I'd have considered a tainted version of the feat.
Whether it's Bauer on some other day, or Corey Kluber, one of the other guys in this year's rotation, or someone we haven't even heard of yet, I want the Indians' first no-hitter in my time as a fan to rest on the throwing arm of a single pitcher, the way the baseball gods intended