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Crooked Numbers: The 18-day no-hitter

Fisher Cats reliever Storey wins game after getting released by Jays
September 4, 2014

In his influential treatise The Unreality of Time, philosopher J.M.E. McTaggart argued that "the distinctions of past, present and future are essential to time and ... if the distinctions are never true of reality, then no reality is in time."

Minor League Baseball would seem to subscribe to this school of thought, as the illusory nature of our agreed-upon chronological construct is regularly made evident via the mind-bending phenomenon that is the completion of the suspended contest. What follows are a few examples from the month that was.

Or would that be the month that wasn't?

May begins in July what ends in August

The present was tense in Rochester on Aug. 11, as Red Wings right-hander Logan Darnell finished off a no-hitter against the Durham Bulls that took 18 days to complete. It all began in Durham on July 24, when Trevor May took the mound against the Bulls and fired three hitless frames. Then, the rains came. The game was suspended, and, since the two teams had no more games scheduled against one another in Durham, it was resumed some 600 miles away in Rochester on Aug. 11 prior to that evening's regularly scheduled contest.

This put the Red Wings in the rare position of being the away team while playing in their home ballpark, and it put Darnell in the rare position of finishing a no-hitter in what was essentially a starting assignment. (May wasn't even on the Red Wings roster at this point, having been promoted to the Minnesota Twins on August 9.)

Darnell was up to the task, however unorthodox, as he no-hit the Bulls for an additional six innings en route to the 22nd no-hitter in Red Wings history. Darnell was thus credited with a win for July 24's ballgame in Durham, despite the fact that he never pitched on the day in question or in the city in which the game was alleged to have taken place. In fact, he had been promoted to the Twins on July 25 and made the first start of his Major League career on July 26 against the White Sox, before being sent back to Rochester in time to go back in time and finish in August what May had started in July.

Got that?

Victory in the midst of defeat

On August 19, the following headline greeted visitors to the Richmond Flying Squirrels' home page: "Squirrels' Losing Skid Continues Despite Win." In the ensuing write-up, team broadcaster Jon Laaser explained the situation thusly:

The Flying Squirrels claimed a 5-3 victory over the New Britain Rock Cats as the two teams completed a suspended game from May 22. However, the Rock Cats turned the tables and prevailed in a seven-inning ballgame, 5-1, technically extending Richmond's losing streak to four games.

Adalberto Mejia earned the win for the Flying Squirrels in the completed game, allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings. Like Rochester's Logan Darnell before him, Mejia entered the game with a no-hitter on the line as original starter Kyle Crick had pitched a hitless inning on May 22 before the game was suspended. Any hopes of a Red Wings-esque delayed no-no were quickly extinguished, however, as Mejia allowed a hit to the first batter he faced.

The eventually ending Storey

Finally, we have the case of New Hampshire Fisher Cats reliever Mickey Storey, who earned a win one week after he was released from the team. The right-hander pitched scoreless 10th and 11th innings against the Harrisburg Senators on July 27, and the Fisher Cats then scored three runs in the top of the 12th. The game was suspended due to rain with one out in the bottom of the 12th, however, and the Fisher Cats finally secured the victory when the game was resumed on Aug. 25. Storey had been released by the Blue Jays organization by this time but nonetheless earned the victory.

Like the Rochester-Durham game cited above, this game began in one city (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) and ended in another (Manchester, New Hampshire). The Senators were in the midst of an 11-game losing streak at the time the game resumed; this streak ended later in the evening when they won Aug. 25's regularly scheduled contest against the Fisher Cats.

In the meantime, the in-between time

It took 18 days to accomplish, but Rochester Red Wings catcher Dan Rohlfing caught the entirety of Trevor May's and Logan Darnell's combined no-hitter mentioned above. Rohlfing stayed busy in the interim, however -- on Aug. 3 he earned his first career save after pitching a scoreless 15th inning against the Louisville Bats. The moonlighting backstop ascended the mound with the Red Wings clinging to a 6-5 lead and allowed only a one-out single en route to notching the first save ever recorded by a Rochester position player.

"I had no idea I was doing something historical," Rohlfing told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "I just wanted to help the team."

Long time coming

In 2003, a 23-year-old right-hander by the name of Jon Huizinga appeared in 23 games for the Beloit Snappers (Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers). He was released by the Milwaukee organization the following Spring Training, which led to a decade-plus independent league odyssey. This extended time in the baseball wilderness finally came to an end on August 15, when he was re-signed by the Brewers and assigned to the Class A Advanced Brevard County Manatees. He made his first appearance with the team three days later and, in doing so, became just the fourth player since 1988 to go at least 11 years between Minor League appearances. The longest such stretch belongs to peripatetic pitcher Denney Tomori, who played in the Pioneer League in 1988 and then spent 16 seasons in Japan before appearing in the Eastern and International Leagues in 2005.

Long time coming, part two

Jesus Montero's season ended in ice cream sandwich-fueled ignominy, but 2014 wasn't an entirely lost campaign for the much-maligned mercurial Mariner. On Sunday, Aug. 10, while playing for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, Montero managed to do something that he hadn't done since 2008.

He stole a base.

Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto has more:

[Tacoma batter Xavier] Avery showed bunt but took the first pitch, and Fresno catcher Guillermo Quiroz fired down to second base to try to pick off Montero. He would have got him, too -- except Montero realized it.

Montero knew he was dead if he tried to get back into second base, so he took off for third without ever having taken a step back towards second. ... Fresno shortstop Nick Noonan took Quiroz's throw and fired to third baseman Chris Dominguez in plenty of time to tag Montero out. However, base umpire Jordan Ferrell saw something else -- I guess he thought Dominguez missed the tag, because he called Montero safe.

An argument followed, as Fresno was sure they had tagged him out. But Ferrell stuck with his call, Montero was safe, and the only thing it could possibly be called was a stolen base for Montero.

Long time coming, part three

The Northwest League has been in existence for 60 years, but until this season no player had ever recorded more than 12 assists in one game. That record was obliterated on Aug.17, when Hillsboro Hops shortstop Pedro Ruiz recorded 14 assists in a 9-7 win over the Eugene Emeralds. The ballgame took a whopping 17 innings to complete, which gave Ruiz plenty of time to make history.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.