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Yankees History: How to go from no hits to not losing in four batters

The 1957 Yankees were a couple outs away from making some ignominious history. They decided to win instead.

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Sunday’s win was a bit of a weird one. The day after getting no-hit, it seemed like the Yankees were maybe going to have it happen to them again. It took until the seventh, but Giancarlo Stanton finally ended Astros starter José Urquidy’s no-no bid after 6.1 innings, homering to get the Yankees on the board.

Even though they avoided being the first team to ever get no-hit in back-to-back games, a win still didn’t exactly seem on the cards after Stanton’s homer. The Yankees were down 3-1, and that had been their only hit in the last 16 innings. However, they then rallied, tying the game on a DJ LeMahieu dinger, before Aaron Judge delivered a walk-off in the 10th. In the course of a couple innings, the Yankees went from just trying to avoid some bad history to coming away with a memorable win.

However, it was not the first time a game has played out that way. Let’s dig into the history books and check out another time the Yankees have gone from the verge of getting no-hit to a coming away from a victory in seemingly the blink of an eye.

On June 30th, 1957, the Yankees were hosting the Kansas City Athletics, facing a familiar name on the mound. Ralph Terry got the start for KC that day, just two weeks after he had left the Yankees as part of the trade where the Yankees got rid of Billy Martin. I have no idea if Terry was a vengeful sort, but he certainly had his old team’s number that day.

In the first inning, Terry issued a two-out walk to Mickey Mantle, but then got Yogi Berra to fly out to end the inning. That would be the last baserunner the Yankees would have for quite a while. After the walk, Terry retired the next 20 batters he faced.

As that was happening, his offense got a slim lead to work with. In the fourth inning, a single by Lou Skizas, plus some help from a Mantle throwing error, allowed a run to score. The A’s had other chances on the day, finishing the game with eight hits and three walks. However, Yankees starter Tom Sturdivant kept managing to get out jams. KC left four other runners in scoring position, and on another occasion, a runner made the final out of an inning attempting to steal third. The Athletics’ inability to push across another run ended up being rather important.

Terry got Bill Skowron to ground out to start the eighth, retiring his 20th straight batter, and getting within five outs of a no-hitter. The next hitter was Gil McDougald, and he ended the bid, dropping a double in between the left and center fielders.

Despite that, Terry and the A’s still a chance to escape with a win. They seemed to be headed on that path when he got Hank Bauer to fly out, getting on the verge of ending the inning. Casey Stengel then sent Joe Collins to the plate as a pinch-hitter. Collins worked the count full and drew a walk, keeping the inning alive. The pitcher’s spot was due up, and this time Stengel sent up Harry Simpson as a pinch-hitter, one of the players who had come to New York from Kansas City in the Martin/Terry trade. Like Terry had for so much of the game, Simpson also delivered against his old team. He doubled to right, scoring both runners and giving the Yankees the lead after they had been just a few batters away from making some less than stellar history.

Bob Grim came in to pitch the ninth inning and threw a 1-2-3 inning to seal a 2-1 Yankees’ win. As it happened, the Yankees ended up needing just two hits to win, with both coming in one four-batter stretch. The victory, and another one later that day in the second game of a doubleheader, gave the Yankees a one-game lead in the AL after they had entered the day tied. They would never relinquish that lead and would win the AL pennant.

Even funnier is that after all that, Terry would end up back on the Yankees less than two years later. After a good run for the A’s in 1957, he put up fairly average numbers in ‘58, then got off to a less than stellar start in ‘59. Then in May 1959, he was included a five-player trade that brought him back to New York. One of the players who went the other way was the opposing pitcher in his no-hit bid, Tom Sturdivant. Terry went on to become a good pitcher with the Yankees, making two All-Star teams and winning World Series MVP in 1962.

There are lots of frustrating feelings in baseball. There can’t be many more worse than going from a couple outs from a no-hitter to the losing pitcher in the blink of an eye.


New York Times, July 1, 1957