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Even Nolan Never Did That
2003-05-04 00:24
by Mike Carminati

Even Nolan Never Did That

I mentioned the other day that on Thursday night for the Tigers Mike Maroth lost a no-hitter in the 8th and then the ballgame, 6-4, to Baltimore. It was another ignominious defeat for the Tigers. But I failed to mention how they lost the first game. B.J. Ryan beat the Debased Tigers without throwing a pitch.

I can't figure out which is more embarrassing: losing after a 7-inning no-hitter or losing to a non-pitcher.

You see, Ryan entered the game in the seventh with two outs, a man (Omar Infante) on first, and the Orioles trailing, 2-1. Ryan's first throw was to first and he caught Infante committing too early towards second. First baseman Jeff Conine threw to the shortstop, Deivi Cruz, who applied the tag at second, and the inning was over. The Orioles scored three runs in the next half inning and never relinquished the lead. Even though Ryan was replaced by Buddy Groom in the eighth, he earned his third win of the season.

How could Ryan earn the win given that he did not make a pitch to a batter, you ask. Well, here's the expurgated rule:

(c) When the starting pitcher cannot be credited with the victory... and more than one relief pitcher is used, the victory shall be awarded on the following basis: (2) Whenever the score is tied the game becomes a new contest insofar as the winning and losing pitcher is concerned; (4) The winning relief pitcher shall be the one who is the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead and maintains it to the finish of the game.

The only other time that a pitcher won a game without retiring a batter, that I could find, was the 1954 All-Star game. Washington's Dean Stone relieved Chicago's Bob Keegan with two out in the eighth and men at first and third (Alvin Dark and Red Schoendienst, respectively) and the AL trailing 9-8. Duke Snider was at-bat and after the count was 1-1, the runner from third tried to steal home. Yogi Berra tagged out Schoendienst to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, the AL scored three runs to go ahead, 11-8, to stay. Stone did not pitch the ninth.

Additionally, Pittsburgh's Preacher Roe garnered a win with one pitch on May 5, 1946. Roe entered the game in the top of the sixth with two outs and a runner on third in a tied ballgame. The runner broke for home on the first pitch and was tagged out to end the inning. Pittsburgh scored in the bottom of the sixth and then the game was called after six on account of rain.

Finally, Dodger reliever Hugh Casey also won on one pitch in the 1947 World Series, though he did retire a batter. Casey entered trailing 2-1 to the Yankees with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. The next batter hit a grounder to the mound, which Casey threw to the catcher to start a routine 1-2-3 double play. The Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth on Cookie Lavagetto's base hit, that also happened to break up Bill Bevens 9-walk 8.2-inning no-hitter.

As far as I can tell, this is the first time at the major-league level that a pitcher has recorded a win not only without retiring a batter but additionally without throwing a pitch. If anyone knows of another, let me know.

[Research based on the scetion on wins in The Rules and Lore of Baseball.]

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