Rays lose combined perfect game bid in ninth inning, fall short of MLB history vs. Orioles

Just two days after a pair of Angels pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Mariners, the Rays fell just short of MLB history. Two Tampa Bay pitchers -- Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough -- combined to throw eight perfect innings on Sunday against the Orioles, setting down the first 24 batters they faced. There has never been a combined perfect game in MLB history, and things remained that way when Baltimore's Hanser Alberto singled on a weak grounder to the right side on the first pitch of the ninth inning.

The Orioles ended up scoring a run in the ninth and the Rays used two other pitchers to close out a 4-1 win. Here's the full box score from the nearly history-making afternoon. Tampa Bay's only no-hitter was on July 26, 2010, by right-hander Matt Garza against the Detroit Tigers.

Ryne Stanek started the game and threw two innings without giving up a hit while striking out two O's batters.Ryan Yarbrough took over in the third and went on to throw six perfect frames before allowing back-to-back hits in the ninth. 

Stanek and Yarbrough, both 27 years old, were drafted as starting pitchers. Stanek became Tampa Bay's most popular opener after being converted to a reliever while in the minor league system in 2016. Yarbrough made his MLB debut last year, and while the southpaw was also converted to a reliever, he has averaged nearly four innings in his 43 relief outings. Making things more interesting is the fact that Yarbrough was recalled from Triple-A Durham the night before his outing on Sunday.

There have been 23 perfect games in MLB history and none since Mariners righty Felix Hernandez sat down 27 in a row against the Rays on Aug. 15, 2012. The Angels threw the second no-hitter of the season on Friday while Oakland Athletics right-hander Mike Fiers no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in May for the first on the season.

The Rays will hit the road for a four-game series against the Yankees in New York, beginning on Monday. Blake Snell (5-7, 4.70 ERA) will take the mound and face Yankees' James Paxton (5-3, 4.09 ERA).

Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

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