x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

When it comes to no-hitters, Twins' Joe Mauer plays spoiler as the hit man

The no-hitter in baseball has become more commonplace in recent years, but it remains a special moment in a ballpark as the ninth inning approaches ... unless Joe Mauer is coming to the plate.

Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer has a knack for taking all the drama out of possible no-hitters by delivering a hit when everyone is hoping for an out.
Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer has a knack for taking all the drama out of possible no-hitters by delivering a hit when everyone is hoping for an out.

The no-hitter in baseball has become more commonplace in recent years, but it remains a special moment in a ballpark as the ninth inning approaches.

Superstitious players on the bench avoid the pitcher and refuse to mention the unfolding gem.

A rising buzz from tens of thousands of people greet the pitcher as he takes the mound for the last three outs.

They cheer and boo every pitch, the intensity matching a World Series game.

Television sports channels join the fun and report each out. The MLB Network breaks in, bringing the game live to viewers.

Thrilling, live, unscripted drama for everyone.

Then Joe Mauer comes to the plate to ruin everything. Friday, for the third time in his career, the Minnesota Twins catcher and three-time batting champion broke up a no-hitter in the ninth inning. This time it was Anibal Sanchez of Detroit Tigers whose party was spoiled.

The right-hander needed only two outs but Mauer drilled a line-drive single to centre.

Groans across the nation.

For the record, he did it to Neftali Feliz of Texas Rangers in 2010 and Gavin Floyd of Chicago White Sox in 2008.

The Twins have been no-hit once during Mauer's career, by Jered Weaver of Los Angeles Angels in 2012.

The last out of the game was made by Alexi Casilla.

Mauer was in the on-deck circle.

Whew.

 

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