Pierzynski sees both sides of Darvish's no-hit bids
A.J. Pierzynski saw Yu Darvish come one out away from a perfect game last season as his catcher, fast forward one year and he's facing the Rangers ace at the plate as he nearly throws a no-hitter against his new team.
A.J. Pierzynski walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes against Yu Darvish in the third inning.
Tony Gutierrez / AP
By Shawn Ramsey
ARLINGTON, Texas — In the second game of last season, A.J. Pierzynski was behind the plate in a Texas Rangers uniform as Yu Darvish lost a perfect game against the Astros with two outs in the ninth inning in Houston.
Fast forward to Friday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Pierzynski was present for another near-milestone for Darvish, this time in Boston Red Sox gear, as the right-hander lost a perfect game in the seventh inning on an controversial-called error before eventually losing the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning after David Ortiz singled to right field.
Perfect games and no-hitters are hard to come by, as evident by Darvish's two shortcomings in as many seasons, but what is it like to be on both ends of the plate when the Rangers ace is close to making history?
"Its fun. You get nervous, you get a little excited, but it's definitely fun," Pierzynski said. "Its what you play for, no-hitters and perfect games aren't planned, they just happen. It's not like when you win a World Series where there's build up, it builds during the game, and it's a one-day experience. It's fun, it's what you play for."
Pierzynski recalled his exchange from a season ago with Darvish after losing the near perfect game in Houston while he was the ace's battery mate for the Rangers.
"You pat him on the back side and say 'great job,'" Pierzynski said. "It's one of those things where you get that close, you want the guy to get it and when it doesn't happen, it's a little deflating and a little disheartening. But at the end of the day, it wasn't meant to be and tonight it wasn't meant to be, again."
As far as the controversial error decision by the scorekeeper in the seventh inning goes, count Pierzynski as one who believes the wrong call was made during the game.
"That ball that David [Ortiz] hit should have been a hit, I think," he said. "It (the no-hit bid) should have been over a lot earlier, but David ended up getting a hit in the ninth anyways."
Despite being behind the plate for 17 of Darvish's 32 starts last season, Pierzynski, who went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, said his experience from catching Darvish didn't help in Friday night's game.
"He finally listened to somebody that he needs to throw more fastballs," Pierzynski said. "Last year we tried to get on him about that and he never did it. I don't think he's ever thrown that many fastballs, especially consistently where he throws them for strikes."
"I tip my hat to him though, he threw the ball well."