A.J. Pierzynski Reflects On Catching Yu Darvish’s 2013 Near-No-Hitter

A.J. PierzynskiTexas Rangers starter Yu Darvish fell one out short of a no-hitter Friday against the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington. It marked the second time in Darvish’s young Major League Baseball career he came up one out short of a no-no, and Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski has been in attendance for both heartbreaking instances.

Pierzynski, who went 0-for-3 against Darvish in the Red Sox’s 8-0 loss, actually caught Darvish’s first bid for a no-hitter on April 2, 2013, while playing for the Rangers. Marwin Gonzalez of the Houston Astros singled with two outs in the ninth to end that no-hit bid, though Pierzynski recalled after Friday’s game there being some tense moments toward the end of that 2013 performance.

“You get nervous, you get a little excited, but it’s definitely fun,” Pierzynski said, according to MLB.com. “Those no-hitters and perfect games aren’t planned, they just happen. So it’s not like when you win a World Series where there’s a buildup. With that, it just kind of builds during the game. It’s a one-day experience, and it’s fun. That’s what you play for.”

Darvish’s performance against the Red Sox certainly was a lot less welcome now that the veteran backstop doesn’t wear the same uniform as the Rangers ace. But Pierzynski still appreciates a strong pitching performance, and he even saw improvement from Darvish over last season, when the two were frequent battery mates in Texas.

“Maybe he finally listened to somebody that he needs to throw more fastballs because last year, we tried to get on him about that, and he never did it,” Pierzynski said after Friday’s game. “And tonight he threw a lot of fastballs, he had confidence in his fastballs, and it was good to see. … He was ahead in the count, and when you’ve got all the weapons that he has to get you out, when you’re behind in the count, it’s tough at-bats off him. I tip my hat to him. He threw the ball well.”

Darvish’s near-no-hitter against the Red Sox was broken up by David Ortiz, who singled past the Rangers’ infield shift and into right field. Ortiz also broke up Darvish’s bid for a perfect game two innings prior on a controversial play that was ruled an error.

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