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When is a no-hitter not a no-hitter? Ask Madison Bumgarner

As for baseball controversies, maybe Madison Bumgarner‘s Seven-inning no-hitter on Sunday doesn’t quite rank there with the designated batsman, Kevin Cash’s decision to retire Blake Snellor whether Jackie Robinson was safe when he stole home in the 1955 World Series.

Or maybe yes. In fact, I just spelled wrong. Bumgarner’s game is officially not a no-hitter as it wasn’t a nine-inning game, although:

1. Bumgarner officially receives credit for a full game and a shutout.

2. Since it is the second double header game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta BravesIt was a scheduled seven-inning game, not a nine-inning game.

The confusion stems from a 1991 decision by the Major League Baseball Committee on Statistical Accuracy that defined a no-hitter as “a game in which a pitcher or pitcher does not give up hits while throwing at least nine innings . A pitcher can give up. ” a run or runs as long as he throws nine innings or more and does not give up a hit. “

Prior to this change in the official records, no-hit games with fewer than nine innings were as a no-hitter. (I can’t say for sure, but that record committee decision may have been a reaction to Andy Hawkins’ game for the Yankees in 1990, when he allowed no hits in eight innings but lost 4-0 runs in four undeserved ones The record holders may have viewed it as an affront to history that Hawkins earned credit for a no-hitter in a game where he threw eight innings and allowed four runs.)

As our old friend Jayson Stark pointed out:

The Diamondbacks made their own decision:

Others had fun with it:

The Diamondbacks celebrated when Bumgarner induced them Marcell Ozuna to fly into the right field after the 7-0 victory for the final, although the celebration did not quite meet the usual no-hitter standards. In his post-game television interview, Bumgarner joked dryly, “I want to thank those shadows in Atlanta. They’ve helped me a lot. That was great. And I want to thank Rob Manfred for playing those seven-inning games. “

The wonderfully named Devern Hansack of the Red Sox threw the final shortened no-hitter in 2006 – a five-inning competition on the last day of the season (in his second career start). The last pitcher to fail in a full seven innings game was the Giants’ Sam Jones in 1959. The difference, of course, is that these were scheduled nine innings games. At the very least, Jones threw an official no-hitter for the Cubs in his 1955 career (the first black pitcher to accomplish the feat).

What are you taking ESPN colleague Jeff Passan had a clear opinion on Twitter:

OK, but that much is also clear: seven innings is not the same as nine innings.

Secure yourself a few hours in front of Bumgarner’s Gem. In the first game of the double header Bumgarner’s teammate Zac Gallen took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before eventually settling for a one-hit shutout for an entire game. He had none of this seven innings debate.

“It wouldn’t have counted so I feel better that it wasn’t a no-hitter anyway,” he said. “The whole game shutout works, I think. That’s fine. We won. It really doesn’t matter. That’s the most important part.”

So Gallen wants to earn be no-hitter. Makes sense. In 2016 – less than five full seasons – 51 individual pitchers, without Bumgarner on Sunday, threw seven innings without hits. Only 10 of them were able to end the no-no. Bumgarner himself was one of those 51. In 2016, he only allowed Arizona one single with eight innings Jake Lamband opted for a one-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts (the best regular season game of his career).

Those last six outs are the tough ones.

The duel games between Gallen and Bumgarner provided some funny facts:

• The last team with two complete missed games in a double header was the Red Sox in 1977, with the famous duo of Don Aase and Reggie Cleveland going against the Blue Jay expansion in September. Aase turned a three-goal goal, while Cleveland followed with a five-goal. Both games were completed in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes.

• The Braves’ only hit in a double header set a record for futility. The 1992 Indians recorded two hits in a double header against the Red Sox on April 12th. Here’s the really fun fact: Cleveland won the first game 2-1 with no hits. Boston’s Matt Young threw eight hit innings (not an official no-hitter!) But allowed a run in the first inning when Kenny Lofton went, stole the second and third, and scored a groundball fault, and another in the third on two runs and two ground ball outs.

• The last team to score one or fewer goals in two consecutive games was Cleveland in June 2014 when the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney fielded a one-hitter on June 29, followed by Dan Haren and two Dodgers relievers batsman combined to a one-hitter the next day.

However, we often hold baseball records as sacred numbers permanently engraved on tablets of stone. It is certainly possible that MLB is pondering how it looks at these seven-inning games. But consider the ramifications: if you change the decision on Bumgarner because it is a scheduled seven innings game, you need to include all eight innings games as well to lose Hitless games, right? Andy Hawkins and Matt Young threw complete games and did not allow a hit in a nine-inning game played to the end. If you want to credit Madison Bumgarner With a no-hitter, you’ll also need to credit Hawkins and Young (and Don Wilson and Clay Kirby).

So if you’re going to say that Bumgarner threw a no-hitter on Sunday, so be Andy Hawkins.

The ultimate lesson here could be: No more seven-inning games.

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