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Hill upset with missed chance to clinch no-no

Hill upset with missed chance to clinch no-no

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TORONTO -- Aaron Hill did not want to discuss what happened in the ninth inning on Sunday. The Blue Jays' second baseman was understandably upset about playing a role in costing pitcher Brandon Morrow a chance at a no-hitter.

After avoiding the clubhouse for about 45 minutes following the Blue Jays' 1-0 victory over the Rays, Hill emerged from a back room and spoke briefly with reporters. Hill felt guilty over not being able to snare the sharply hit grounder off the bat of Evan Longoria with two outs in the final frame.

"I did everything I could and couldn't come up with it," Hill said. "I wish I could get an error or something for it. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is."

Morrow finished with 17 strikeouts in a brilliant one-hit shutout for the Blue Jays, while becoming the seventh pitcher in club history to lose a no-hitter in the ninth inning. Among that group, Morrow was the third to lose a bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the final inning.

Tampa Bay was simply overmatched all afternoon.

"If anyone deserved a no-hitter it was him today," Longoria said of Morrow. "I mean, it really was one of those days you go up to the plate and really feel like, and I hate to say it, 'This guy has been making his pitches all day. What chance do we have right now?'"

Jays' near no-no's
Of the past 16 pitchers to lose a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, five have been Blue Jays hurlers.
Date Pitcher Opp. Batter Hit
9/24/88 Dave Stieb CLE Julio Franco 1B
9/30/88 Dave Stieb BAL Jim Traber 1B
8/4/89 *Dave Stieb NYY Roberto Kelly 2B
9/27/98 Roy Halladay DET Bobby Higginson HR
8/8/10 Brandon Morrow TB Evan Longoria 1B
* Perfect game bid

With a runner on first base, Longoria sent a 1-1 fastball from Morrow bouncing to the right side of the infield. Hill sprinted to his left and dove in an effort to grab the grounder. The ball bounced off the tip of Hill's glove and rolled into right field for what appeared to be a sure single.

Official scorer Dave Perkins agreed, ruling Longoria's grounder a hit.

"It is what it is. It's a base hit," Perkins said. "Anybody that doubts it, turn it around. If a Toronto guy was facing a no-hitter and did that with two outs in the ninth, would they still say it's an error? I have no problem standing by it."

No Blue Jays had an issue with the ruling, either.

"I think it was the right call," Jays center fielder Vernon Wells said. "It was a tough play. I think Hilly feels as bad as anybody. He wanted to make that play, but that's baseball."

Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay was not sure Hill would have had a play, even if he did glove the ground ball.

"Even if he got it, I think Longoria was safe," Overbay said. "It was in a perfect spot. We had him [shaded] up the middle and he just hit it into that target hole."

While the ruling was correct, the Jays would not have argued if Hill had been given an error.

"It was close," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "I'm pretty sure that Hill would take an E-4 on that any day so the kid could have a no-hitter. You have to call it like you see it. If it looks like a base hit, then it is a base hit."

Morrow agreed.

"That's a hit, for sure," Morrow said.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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