Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blackburn, Not To Be Outdone, Throws All-Hitter

MINNESOTA (Bottom of the Fourth) - On Tuesday night, Francisco Liriano made history by throwing a no-hitter. Just one game later, fellow Twin Nick Blackburn one-upped his teammate by throwing the first All-Hitter in major league history.

For the uninitiated, an all-hitter is a complete game thrown by a pitcher in which every plate appearance results in a hit. No walks, no ground-outs, fly-outs, etc. Outs may only be recorded on plays on which a hit is also recorded; i.e. when players are thrown out at the plate, are called out for interference, run outside the base-paths, etc.

Blackburn's line for the evening easily broke the record for most hits allowed in a single game: 9 IP, 45 H, 0 BB, 9 ER, 0 K. While the right-hander may not wish to be remembered for this record, however, right-fielder Delmon Young will surely wear his 10 assists in a single game as a badge of honour.

Fans started picking up on what was happening around the 7th inning, and their hopes for history were almost dashed right then. A slow roller that shortstop Alexi Casilla bobbled was initially ruled an error, but was changed to a hit when the official scorer decided the runner would have made it regardless.

Blackburn was relieved by the decision. "I mean, that could have been the end of the dream right there," he said after the game. "Guys always say they're not thinking about it when they're pitching a game like this, but that's such a lie. I knew exactly what was happening, and my heart sank when Alexi bobbled that ball."

In the end, Blackburn accomplished this rarest of rare feats. His teammates mobbed him after he recorded the final out when opposition base-runners accidentally ran to the same base for the third time in the game. Then they went back to the dug-out to bat one more time, because they were losing 9-2. That would be the final score.

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