Texas Rangers starter Bartolo Colón may have to wait until he’s 45 to throw his first perfect game. The 44-year-old nearly etched his name in the history books Sunday, carrying a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Houston Astros.
It wasn’t meant to be, though. After dominating the best offense in baseball last season for seven innings, Colón struggled with some rare control problems in the eighth. He walked Carlos Correa to lead off the inning, ending his bid for perfection.
The possible no-hitter didn’t last much longer. Three pitches later, outfielder Josh Reddick doubled to right field.
Next came the shutout. Yulieski Gurriel lifted a fly ball to center to bring home Correa from third, tying things up 1-1. Just like that, Colón went from perfect to nearly picking up a loss.
With Reddick standing at second, a hit would put Houston ahead. Colón and Alex Claudio were able to prevent that from happening. After throwing seven perfect innings, Colón left with a no decision in the eighth.
While Colón didn’t get the win, his team came through. It took 10 innings, but the Rangers toppled the Astros 3-1.
Had Colón accomplished the feat, it would have been the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, and the first since Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw one in 2012.
Colón would have also become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game or a no-hitter.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 16, 2018
Even though Colón failed to make history Sunday, it’s still quite the accomplishment for a pitcher most wrote off after 2017. His late-career magic seemed to vanish last season.
Over 143 innings, Colón was one of the worst starters in baseball, posting a 6.48 ERA with the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins. His age, combined with his poor numbers, led to Colón signing a minor-league deal with the Rangers in February.
At best, Colón was expected to eat innings at the back-end of the rotation. He wasn’t expected to carry perfect games into the eighth inning.
Maybe Colón is just playing the long game. He’ll turn 45 on May 24, and the only thing cooler than tossing a perfect game at 44 is doing it at 45.
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