Monday night, the High Class-A Clearwater Threshers (Phillies) did something that has never once happened in Major League Baseball history. They won despite zero hits and zero walks.
In the second game of their doubleheader against the Tampa Tarpons (Yankees), the Threshers used the new minor-league extra innings tiebreaker rules to push across a run in the eight inning (doubleheader games are seven innings in the minors) and earned a 1-0 win (box score).
The top of the eighth started with a runner on second base, and that runner advanced to third on an error by Tampa shortstop Diego Castillo. Clearwater second baseman Daniel Brito then brought the run home with a fielder's choice ground ball to first base. The Tarpons were unable to rally in the bottom of the eighth despite starting the inning with a runner at second.
Because of the error, the Tarpons do not get credit with a perfect game. They did not retire every batter. They do get credit for the no-hitter though.
The extra innings rule makes it possible for a team to throw a perfect game and lose. For example, once the runner is put at second base to start extra innings, a team could bunt him to third and bring him home on a sacrifice fly. No batter reaches base against the pitcher, but a run scored.
We've seen a few no-hitter losses at the MLB level over the years, most recently in 2008, when errors by Jered Weaver and Jeff Mathis allowed the Dodgers to win 1-0 despite getting zero hits. No hits and no walks though? That's never before been done at the MLB level. It was done Monday in the minors though, thanks to the new tiebreaker rule intended to shorten games and also protect young minor league pitchers from being overworked.