McKenzie loses perfect game in 8th, Indians beat Tigers

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Derek Holland throws during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — Harold Castro of the Detroit Tigers knocked a clean single to right field to end a perfect game bid by Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie with two outs in the eighth inning Sunday.

Castro hit a ball sharply to shallow right on McKenzie’s 100th pitch. The Indians haven’t completed a no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981, the longest current drought in the majors.

Before Castro’s hit, McKenzie retired the first 23 Detroit batters in order.

The 24-year-old McKenzie then struck out Willi Castro to end the inning, his 11th punchout.

McKenzie stunned the Comerica Park crowd of 25,684 hoping to see Miguel Cabrera’s 500th homer. Instead, they gave McKenzie a standing ovation after Harold Castro’s hit and another after he finished the inning with his 11th strikeout.

The slender right-hander was closing in on what would have been the record ninth no-hitter in the majors this season, surpassing the mark set in 1884, the first year overhand pitching was allowed. Arizona’s Tyler Gilbert recorded the eighth no-hitter Saturday night.

McKenzie was making his 17th start in a season when he’s bounced between the majors and Triple-A. He entered the game 1-5 with a 5.66 ERA and has just three victories in 25 career appearances, including 22 starts.

He had never gone past the seventh inning in a big league start.

It’s been nine years to the day since the last perfect game in the majors, thrown by Seattle’s Félix Hernández on Aug. 15, 2012 against Tampa Bay.

The Indians lead 11-0.

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