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October 12, 2014

May 6, 1984 - Joe Niekro Nearly Throws No-Hitter

Game #348 - Houston Astros, 4 @ New York Mets, 0

I continue to hope and pray that this season of Statis Pro will deliver a no-hitter.  I almost got my wish today!

In the top of the second inning, Walt Terrell of the Mets gave up a two-out single to Craig Reynolds.  Ray Knight then launched a hard double that scored Reynolds to give Houston a one run lead.   

Joe Niekro retired the side in the bottom of the fifth, including strike outs of Mike Fitzgerald and Jose Oquendo.  It was about this point in the game I realized Niekro had yet to surrender a hit.  He had issued three walks, including two to Darryl Strawberry, but no hits.  In the bottom of the sixth it was once again three up, three down.

In the top of the seventh Houston extended their lead.  Terrell was lifted for a pinch hitter the previous inning so Brent Gaff was on the hill.  He ended up allowing three runs to score, including a Terry Puhl solo shot.  That brought up the Mets in the bottom of the seventh.  Two Mets starters, Hubie Brooks and George Foster, were missing from the line up because of injuries, but this inning would feature Keith Hernandez and Strawberry, New York's two best hitters.  Once again, though, Niekro retired the Mets three in a row, including a Strawberry whiff.

At this point I was very nervous.  We were six outs away from the no-no.  Mike Fitzgerald led off the eighth.  The Fast Action Card indicated the play would be off the pitcher card.  The next FAC was flipped:  18.  Single off the pitcher card.  No-hitter eliminated.  Niekro actually gave up two more hits but the Mets didn't score, and the knuckler finished the game for a shutout.

Winning Pitcher - Joe Niekro
Losing Pitcher - Walt Terrell
Player of the Game - Niekro, CG SHO, 4H's, 3BB's, 8K's

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