Giants' Johnny Cueto loses no-hitter as routine fly ball ends in disaster

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In a season with little-to-no expectations for the San Francisco Giants, veteran starting pitcher Johnny Cueto had a chance to deliver a night to remember. It did not end well.

Holding a no-hitter in the sixth inning, Cueto allowed a fly ball to Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernández that should not have been a problem. Statcast measured the xBA of the ball (i.e. the likelihood of a hit on similar balls in play) at just .060, with a 99% catch probability. It was a routine fly ball.

However, no routine fly ball is routine when the outfielder doesn’t see the ball. Enter Hunter Pence:

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Ouch.

Pence lost the ball in the lights and could only stand and wait for the ball to land 20 feet behind him. What should have been the first out of the inning instead turned into a triple for Hernández, who scored one batter later on a groundout by catcher Austin Barnes.

The troubles snowballed for the Giants from there. Cueto would eventually leave in the same inning after allowing a three-run homer to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. It’s safe to say the pitcher was frustrated:

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The Giants held on to defeat the Dodgers, 5-4.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 08: Johnny Cueto #47 of the San Francisco Giants walks off the field after giving up a three-run home run to Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on August 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Johnny Cueto had a less than stellar inning. It wasn't entirely his fault. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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