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No-hitters lost in the ninth: The Cubs’ Ted Lilly, June 13, 2010

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There was a lot going on pre-game this night at Wrigley, and then Ted almost made history.

Ted Lilly during his near no-hitter
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The 2010 Cubs were a curious bunch. After a disappointing 2009 when they contended for a while, then flamed out, the team made few major changed in 2010 and promptly dipped under .500 on Opening Day, never to return.

By mid-June, hosting the White Sox at Wrigley Field, they were firmly ensconced in third place and nowhere near contention.

The Sox won the first two of a three-game set and the teams were scheduled for a date with ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball for the series finale. Before the game, though, the Cubs hosted the Stanley Cup, won just four days earlier by the Blackhawks, creating this three-Chicago-team photo:

Chase Agnello-Dean/Chicago Blackhawks

And then Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd upstaged the Stanley Cup champions.

Neither team had a hit through six innings. The Cubs had three baserunners, two walks and Koyie Hill reaching on an error; the Sox also had three off Lilly, two hit batters and a walk (to Floyd!).

Lilly retired the Sox in order in the seventh. In the bottom of the inning, In the bottom of the inning, Derrek Lee walked with one out, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Alfonso Soriano followed with a double. Chad Tracy (!) then singled, with Soriano scoring to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

(Footnote: Tracy played only five more games with the Cubs before being designated for assignment June 25 when Aramis Ramirez was activated from the disabled list.)

Back to the game: Lilly again got the Sox 1-2-3 in the eighth. The Cubs could not score further, though, and so the game went to the ninth with the Cubs nursing a 1-0 lead. Could they win, and could Lilly throw the first Cubs no-hitter at Wrigley in 38 years?

The answer to the second question was a quick “No.” Lilly got strike one on former Cub Juan Pierre and then Pierre smacked a solid single to center [VIDEO].

Lilly left to a loud ovation, having thrown 108 pitches. Carlos Marmol came in and... it was not pretty. He walked the next hitter, then balked both runners up. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez and then an intentional walk was issued to load the bases. Marmol then got Paul Konerko to hit into a force at the plate and Carlos Quentin to fly to center to end the game in a 1-0 Cubs win, one of the few highlights in an 87-loss season. Lilly himself would make just eight more starts in a Cubs uniform. He was traded to the Dodgers (with Ryan Theriot) at the July 31 deadline for Blake DeWitt and two minor leaguers.

The Cubs wouldn’t throw another one-hitter until 2014. And there still hasn’t been a Cubs no-hitter at Wrigley Field since 1972. Both of Jake Arrieta’s, the 2020 no-no by Alec Mills and the combined no-no last June by Zach Davies, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel, were on the road.