The San Francisco Giants and Yusmeiro Petit had had a lost season before Sept. 6. The Giants had gone from defending champion to a last place team, while Petit was a 12-20 career pitcher entering his fourth start of 2013 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yet Petit wound up being a foot away from a perfect game as the Giants once again flirted with being part of a no-hitter.
Petit only needed over 90 pitches to get within one strike of a perfect game. But when Eric Chavez lined a ball towards right fielder Hunter Pence, he fell just short of being able to catch it. Petit still got the final out in short order and finished a 3-0 complete game one-hitter, although everyone still focused on what could have been.
All the Giants have really done this season is be a part of no-hitters, as Tim Lincecum got one for them on July 13 and the Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey victimized them with one on July 2. However, Petit hardly has the resume of Lincecum or even Bailey, as he went 3-10 in his last full season as a starter with the Diamondbacks in 2009.
He was out of the major leagues before joining the Giants in 2012, then became part of the rotation in recent weeks when San Francisco needed to play out the string. Petit had won his previous two starts, including an 8-2 victory over Arizona on Sept. 1, but no one could have imagined that this was in him. In fact, this shutout lowered his career ERA to 5.19.
Being embarrassed by an obscure pitcher was all the Diamondbacks needed, as they slipped another game back in the wild card race. Their chances of catching the Cincinnati Reds for a spot in the wild card game are fading fast, just as their NL West hopes were destroyed by the Los Angeles Dodgers this summer.
The Giants’ hopes for a playoff berth and a chance to defend their world title faded long before that. The only thing they can do in the last month of their reign is to play spoiler and flirt with more no-hitters, which Petit took care of in spades. But if he wants to be part of next year’s rotation and help San Francisco aim for its third championship in five years, he has a big headline on his resume now.