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Imperfect finish to Rich Hill’s perfect night

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Hill’s perfect game bid was ruined yet again.

The Dodgers left-hander got a rare second chance at baseball immortality on Wednesday at PNC Park, and Hill was up to the challenge, taking a perfect game into the ninth inning and a no-hitter into the 10th.

But Josh Harrison played spoiler, leading off the 10th inning by hitting a walk-off home run, giving the Pirates a 1-0 win over the Dodgers.

He retired his first 24 batters faced until Logan Forsythe booted a ground ball for an error to open the ninth. But Hill not only worked around that error, but also pitched the 10th inning as well, keeping his no-hitter intact.

Hill’s near masterpiece came 347 days after his other signature outing, last year’s seven perfect innings against the Marlins. Hill, in just his third start after missing several weeks with blister problems and with the playoffs looming, was the first pitcher ever pulled from a perfect game that late in Miami, but on Wednesday in Pittsburgh he was too efficient to exit early.

All night long Hill pounded the strike zone, needing just 99 pitches to complete his effort. He struck out 10 batters on the night, including five looking.

Josh Bell had designs on a hit to lead off the eighth inning, lining a ball ticketed for right field, but Chase Utley made a diving, snow cone catch to preserve the perfect game.

The Dodgers couldn’t push a run across against Pirates starter Trevor Williams, who allowed seven hits and four walks but kept the Dodgers scoreless though eight innings, with five strikeouts.

The Dodgers put the first two runners on in the second inning and loaded the bases with tow outs but did not score, and stranded the leadoff double by Forsythe in the seventh. In the eighth inning, Forsythe lined a ball with two on and two out, but shortstop Jordy Mercer was able to snag it before it reached the outfield.

They were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, having left 11 runners on base on the night.

Up next

The Dodgers go for the series win on Thursday afternoon, with Hyun-jin Ryu starting in the 1:05 p.m. PT finale. Chad Kuhl starts for the Pirates.

Wednesday particulars

Home run: Josh Harrison (16)

WP - Juan Nicasio (2-5): 1 IP 1 strikeout

LP - Rich Hill (9-5): 9+ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 10 strikeouts