Twins lefty Happ loses no-hit bid vs Pirates in 8th inning

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher J.A. Happ delivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 23, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David Berding)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Twins left-hander J.A. Happ lost his bid for a no-hitter with one out in the eighth inning on Friday night against Pittsburgh, when Jacob Stallings doubled for the Pirates.

Happ, in his first season with the Twins, was immediately removed by manager Rocco Baldelli and replaced by Tyler Duffey with Minnesota leading 2-0. Happ walked two batters, both in the second. He threw 95 pitches, with 51 strikes.

Happ’s bid for the first no-hitter of his 15-year career caught quite a break in the fifth, when Wilmer Difo hit a comebacker that Happ tried to scoop with his glove.

The ball ricocheted toward third base, where Happ hustled and used a slide to grab the ball in the grass. His throw, which likely would have been too late, went wide of first and into foul territory.

But instead of getting an error and allowing Difo to reach second base, Happ was off the hook when home plate umpire Jose Navas called Difo out for straying too far inside the base line and thus interfering with the throw. Pirates manager Derek Shelton argued to no avail.

The last no-hitter by a Twins pitcher was Francisco Liriano on May 3, 2011, at Chicago. Target Field, in its 12 seasons, has yet to host one.

Happ’s career-best complete game was a two-hitter for Houston on Aug. 30, 2010.

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