Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes teamed up with reliever Josh Hader to pitch the ninth all-time baseball hitting record this season, breaking a mark set when pitchers began to throw overhead in 1884 as the Brewers beat the Indians of Cleveland 3-0 Saturday night.
Burnes (10-4) struck out 14 batters with 115 pitches in eight innings, putting together a perfect game in the seventh while overpowering the Indians, who were untouched for the third time in 2021. This time it was through Burnes – who became a competitor to Cy Young as the Brewers run away with NL Central – and Hader, one of the game’s top closers.
Cleveland are the first team to go untouched three times in the same year – all with starter Zach Plesac (10-5) on the mound.
Right-hander Burnes was in control from the start, striking out 11 of his first 14 hitters on strikes and striking out the first 18 in sequence. After running Myles Straw to start the seventh, the 26-year-old cleared the eighth thanks to a diving catch from center fielder Lorenzo Cain on the Owen Miller liner.
The Progressive Field crowd booed as Hader entered the ninth grade. He overpowered Oscar Mercado, pulling him out early in the round. Then first baseman Jace Peterson entered foul territory to catch a second out.
Hader ended the non-hitter by pounding Straw one step into the dirt. The Brewers took to the pitch to share hugs and high-fives with an iconic victory in their runaway season.
Juan Nieves pitched the Brewers’ hitting precedent on April 15, 1987 in Baltimore.
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Arizona rookie Tyler Gilbert threw the majors’ most recent hit on Aug. 14, and the Chicago Cubs threw the only combined effort before on June 24. The other hits this season have been pitched by Joe Musgrove of San Diego (April 9), Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Wade Miley of Cincinnati (May 7), Spencer Turnbull of Detroit (May 18) and Corey Kluber of the Yankees (May 19).
Most of these gems were thrown away before MLB cracked down on the use of sticky foreign substances by pitchers in late June.
Miley and Rodón’s hitterless were both pitted against the Indians, as was a seven-innings hitterless from Tampa Bay on July 7 that did not officially count in Major League Baseball’s record books. Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner also had a seven-innings hitting game in Game 2 of a doubles program in Atlanta on April 25.
The Brewers completed this piece of history three days after Minnesota rookie Joe Ryan pulled out the Indians’ first 19 hitters in a 3-0 win at Progressive Field.
Plesac couldn’t figure out that he was on the wrong side of three hitterless. Prior to Saturday, Jim Perry was the only starter in baseball history to see his opponent pitch three times in a career before Saturday.
“I don’t even know if that makes sense to me,” Plesac said. “It’s crazy. I don’t know if it’s me or what.”
Plesac allowed three runs, two earned, in six innings.
The Brewers scored twice in the first inning on a brace produced by Christian Yelich and a sacrifice ball from Omar Narváez. Milwaukee made it 3-0 in the second when Rowdy Tellez passed Daniel Vogelbach at home.
Tellez felt pain in his right knee while executing the goals and left the game.
Peterson returned to action after being hit by a foul ball to the left arm Wednesday in the dugout against Philadelphia. Manager Craig Counsell said Peterson was hit squarely with a stick from a Phillies player, but the ball narrowly missed hitting his elbow.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (flu-like symptoms) will not make his scheduled departure on Sunday after falling ill at the team hotel. Counsell said Woodruff “has lost weight because of the virus,” postponing his next outing until Wednesday in Detroit.
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (sprained right shoulder) started a bullpen session before the game and will be assessed on Sunday. Acting director DeMarlo Hale said reigning AL Cy Young award winner could begin a rehab mission as early as Tuesday.
Brewers: LHP Eric Lauer (5-5, 3.18 ERA) will start at regular rest in the three-game series final, moving up one place in the rotation to replace Woodruff. The native product of northeast Ohio and the state of Kent never opposed the Indians.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (10-3, 3.25 ERA) is making his second start since spending 77 days on the injured list with a sprained third finger to his right hand. Civale allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings on his return, losing to the Twins on September 7.