According to Major League Baseball an official no-hitter consists of a pitcher having pitched at least 9 innings while allowing 0 hits.

In MLB history has a team lost while having a pitcher throw an official no-hitter? If so what were the team(s)?


2 Answers 2


Running through the list of complete game no-hitters on Wikipedia, there's only one loss by a pitcher that completed a no-hitter. As this page notes:

The only starting pitcher to lose a complete-game no-hitter was Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt 45s (pre-Astros), who lost to Cincinnati 1-0 on April 23, 1964. Johnson's throwing error allowed Pete Rose to get to second with one out in the top of the ninth. Chico Ruiz moved Rose to third on a ground ball, and second baseman Nellie Fox's error on a grounder by Vada Pinson let Rose score the game's only run.

The same page also notes a loss for a combined no-hitter:

Steve Barber (8 2/3 innings) and Stu Miller (1/3 inning) of the Baltimore Orioles lost a no-hitter to Detroit 2-1 on April 30, 1967. The Tigers got both their runs when Barber walked Norm Cash and Ray Oyler to start the top of the ninth. Earl Wilson (who started for Detroit and got the win) bunted them over. After Willie Horton popped up, Barber threw a wild pitch, which let Dick Tracewski (running for Cash) score to make it 1-1. Miller came in to pitch to Don Wert, whose ground ball was booted by shortstop Mark Belanger, allowing Jake Wood (running for Oyler) to score the go-ahead run.

By your question's definition of a no-hitter, the answer would be one game - Ken Johnson's start for the Houston Colt 45s against the Cincinnati Reds.

There have also been four 8 inning efforts that ended short for a full no-hitter due to the fact that the pitcher's team was losing. These were:

  • Jered Weaver(6 innings) and Jose Aredando (2 innings), for the Angels vs Dodgers in 2008
  • Andy Hawkins for the Yankees vs the White Sox in 1990
  • Matt Young for the Red Sox vs the Indians in 1992
  • Silver King for the Chicago Pirates vs the Brooklyn's Ward Workers in 1890
  • 1
    Added 8 inning efforts that were cut short by the fact that the home team does not bat when they are ahead.
    – wax eagle
    Jun 19, 2014 at 15:16

It should also be noted that there have been situations where 9 innings of no-hit baseball were pitched, yet the game went into extra innings, where the pitcher ended up earning a loss. Your question is mildly flawed, since it is quoting the original rule. The rule was changed in 1991 to not include games where 9 inning no-hitters were pitched, yet the game was still undecided (source). Other than the previously mentioned situations for Ken Johnson and Baltimore vs. Detroit, there are a few others of note:

  • Harvey Haddix, then with the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched 12 innings without allowing a base runner in May 1959 against the Milwaukee Braves. In the bottom of the 13th inning the perfect game was broken up by a fielding error. He then recorded another out before giving up what appeared to be a home run, but was later ruled a double due to a base runner leaving the field without completing his trip around the bases, thus causing the batter/runner to be called out for passing another base runner. Thus Haddix lost the game and his no-hitter. His 12 2/3 inning performance is sometimes attributed as the best performance by any pitcher in major league baseball history, especially considering the Braves' lineup at the time (including Hall of Fame members Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron).

  • In 1917, the Reds' Fred Toney and the Cubs' Hippo Vaughn both pitched 9 innings of no-hit baseball. In the top of the tenth, the Reds scored a run on a few hits, and Toney came back in the bottom of the inning to complete his 10-inning complete game no hitter, whereas Vaughn dealt with his loss after pitching 9 1/3 innings of a no-hitter. This is the only time in major league history that there were no hits by either team in 9 innings of baseball.

  • Jim Maloney of the Reds pitched 10 innings of no-hit ball in 1965 against the New York Mets. Johnny Lewis hit a home run to lead off the eleventh, and Maloney lost the game. Incidentally, he also pitched 9 innings of a no-hitter two months later, except he won in the tenth inning (the first time a pitcher scored a no-hitter in more than 9 innings). Maloney has a very interesting no-hitter repertoire that I won't go into here.

  • What would the rule say about a game which was decided in favor of the perfectly-pitching team without nine innings having been played (either called because of weather, or reduced to seven because it was part of a double header?) If a game is adjudicated as a tie without anyone by either team having reached base, could it be a perfect game by both teams?
    – supercat
    Aug 12, 2015 at 22:46
  • @supercat: Shortened games would not be called no-hitters under the current definition. In fact, a visiting pitcher who throws eight no hit innings but loses without the home team batting in the 9th doesn't get a no-no. I believe a tie would be suspended and the results of the completion would decide if the game is a no hitter.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 2, 2017 at 15:34
  • Harvey Haddix was a Pittsburgh Pirate when he pitched 12 perfect innings in Milwaukee in 1959. The first out was a sacrifice bunt (by Eddie Mathews!), then Hank Aaron was intentionally walked. Joe Adcock then hit the ball over the fence, but Hank Aaron thought it landed in the field of play and left the basepaths after touching 2nd. Different sources say different things, but at least one of Aaron or Adcock was ruled out; either Aaron for leaving the field or Adcock for passing Aaron. Ultimately Adcock was credited with a double.
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 2, 2017 at 15:54
  • A couple sources about Haddix' game: m.mlb.com/cutfour/2015/05/26/126504134/…, baseball-reference.com/boxes/MLN/MLN195905260.shtml
    – GreenMatt
    Aug 2, 2017 at 15:58
  • @GreenMatt: For the second part of the question, if a game were adjudicated as a tie after nine or more completed innings without anyone ever having reached base, could it be called a "perfect game" for both sides? Games which are tied when inclement weather arises are usually not adjudicated as ties, of course, but instead rescheduled, but the rules do allow for the possibility of ties.
    – supercat
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:58

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