Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
- Almost no-hitter against the Cubs
July 31st, 2012 saw the Pirates sitting at 59-44 and right in the thick of a pennant race. A.J. Burnett was the starting pitcher that day against the Chicago Cubs and he was absolutely locked in. He struck out eight and didn’t allow a hit until the bottom of the eighth inning off of Adrian Cárdenas.
He finished the job in the ninth inning and ended up throwing a complete game one hitter. Nothing to sneeze at, but many fans agree that A.J. should have had a no-hitter. A check swing call went against the veteran as rookie batter, Cárdenas was given ball one instead of strike three. He then singled on the next pitch and Burnett’s no-hitter was gone.
Lots of pitchers flirt with no-hitters that get broken up in the eighth inning or later, but this was Burnett’s inaugural season as a Pirate and it was one of the highlights of 2012 before the team faded down the stretch, so this just comes off as a huge moment for the team. I remember I watched the first part of this game at a bar and then had to head home during the seventh inning. I raced home, listening to the radio, not wanting to miss seeing a potential no-hitter. I got home just in time to see the first two outs of the eighth inning before the no-hitter was gone. Maybe not the super iconic moment of Burnett’s career, but it was something I will never forget. I will also never forget the final out being recorded and watching Burnett embrace catcher, Rod Barajas. It was a cool moment and in my opinion, very underrated.
Next: Number Three