TORONTO Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow came one out shy of pitching his team's first no-hitter in nearly 20 years when he gave up a two-out single in the ninth inning on Sunday.
Morrow's bid for the sixth no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season was spoiled when Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria hit a ground ball that deflected off the glove of Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill.
Despite losing the no-hit bid, Morrow said he was able to take comfort in the fact that he pitched his first complete game and first shutout.
"Those things combined are more than enough to overcome the missed no-hitter," Morrow told reporters. "That would've been a great feat, but I'll start at a complete game, one-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts."
Hill dived to his right to cut off Longoria's grounder but could not gather the ball cleanly as it rolled from his grasp.
The 26-year-old Morrow remained in the game and struck out the next batter to seal the 1-0 victory for the Blue Jays, their fifth in the past six games.
Morrow, who improved to 9-6 with a 4.45 ERA, walked just two batters in the game and finished with 17 strikeouts, one shy of the team record set by Roger Clemens in 1998.
Of the five no-hitters this season, two have come against the Rays. Oakland's Dallas Braden threw a perfect game against Tampa Bay on May 9 and Arizona's Edwin Jackson no-hit the Rays on June 26.
Philadelphia's Roy Halladay threw a perfect game this year, Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez had a no-hitter and Tampa pitcher Matt Garza tossed his team's first no-hitter.
Dave Stieb, who threw a no-hitter for Toronto in 1990, is the only Blue Jays pitcher to accomplish the feat.
(Writing by Frank Pingue, editing by Justin Palmer)