Perfect Game Marred by What May Be the 'Strangest Rule' in Sports

But John Means of the Baltimore Orioles still got his no-hitter
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2021 9:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – John Means of the Baltimore Orioles threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. But a look at the box score reveals an odd thing: He faced the minimum 27 batters, and did not walk anyone or hit any batters with a pitch, notes ESPN. His team made no errors in the 6-0 win. So why didn't Means achieve the rare "perfect game"? Because of what Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com calls "perhaps the strangest rule in professional sports." In the third inning, Means struck out Seattle's Sam Haggerty on a curve ball, but the pitch went through the legs of catcher Pedro Severino. Baseball has a "dropped-third-strike rule" that allows the batter to try to advance in such a case.

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Haggerty took advantage and made it to first, only to be thrown out later in the inning by Severino when he tried to steal second. Means is believed to be the first pitcher in MLB history to lose a perfect game because of the dropped-third-strike rule, per CNN. Instead, he has to settle for throwing the Orioles' first no-hitter since one by Jim Palmer in 1969. Which is apparently just fine with him. "Yeah, right now it doesn't matter at all to be honest with you," he tells ESPN. Of that third-inning at-bat: "I was struggling with the curveball recently, so I was just happy I got it over and got a swing and miss on it, so that is all I was happy about. ... I'm glad Sevy made up for it by getting him out at second." (Read more no-hitter stories.)

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