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Worst Half Inning Ever?

Last night, after Tim Lincecum’s no hitter, I was wondering how frequently no-hitters ended in a loss. Of course, a run could score off of a combination of errors and walks to score the winning run in a game with no score on both sides. It turns out that this phenomenon has occured four times in baseball history. In three of those instances, the score was 1-0. Each time, the pitcher lost the game on an error by a fielder in an otherwise double-shutout before extras.

However, in one rare instance, the Yankees lost to the Chicago White Sox 4-0 even though the White Sox recorded zero hits. The pitcher credited with the no-hit loss will probably not be remembered in baseball history. Andy Hawkins (NYY) never made it to the Hall of Fame. Still, I would argue that by almost no fault of his own, Hawkins deserves a spot in the MLB Hall of Shame for the team effort of failure.

On July 1st, 1990, the New York Yankees took the field against the Chicago White Sox. Bombers pitcher, Hawkins, was having a difficult season having won one, lost four, and giving up over six runs per nine innings of play. Hawkins had 12 starts and needed a strong showing in Chicago to keep his career in check. At the start of the game, things appear to be going his way. The wind blew off of lake Michigan in favor of the day’s pitchers. In fact, the wind saved Hawkins’ no-no in the 7th when a fly ball was hit to the warning track.

The first seven innings were flawless. Hawkins pitched as though his career was on the line. The fans, both White Sox and Yankeees, cheered on what would certainly become a game to remember. Hawkins began the game with four perfect innings. He walked two in the fifth and threw a wild pitch. Still, the Yanks were able to get out of the inning unscathed. The sixth and seventh innings are also manageable for Hawkins. Still, there is one blaring issue– the Yankees have not scored their first run.

In the eighth, the game gets out of hand. Two easy pop flys end in outs to start the inning off of Fletcher and Karkovice. The game is still under control. But then Sammy Sosa comes to the plate. He reaches first on an infield error. While Ozzie Guillen is at bat, Sosa steals second, but it does not matter. Guillen walks. Runners are now on first and second. The next batter, Lance Johnson, walks also. Bases are loaded and Hawkins begins to sweat.

Robin Ventura hits a routine fly ball to the outfield. With two outs, all runners go. Jim Leyritz is in left field running to the ball. He has plenty of time to get there. The announcer says, “don’t trip,” on the video broadcast and Leyritz drops the ball. Three unearned runs cross the plate as Leyritz stumbles to get the ball.

To add insult to injury, Calderon- the White Sox’s next batter, hits another routine fly ball to the outfield. Ventura goes from second because, again, there are no outs. He crosses home plate while the right fielder drops the ball again.

The Yankees go on to lose 4-0 while recording no hits against Hawkins over nine innings.

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