Holding a no-hitter in the sixth inning, Cueto allowed a fly ball to Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernández that should not have been a problem. Statcast measured the xBA of the ball (i.e. the likelihood of a hit on similar balls in play) at just .060, with a 99% catch probability. It was a routine fly ball.
However, no routine fly ball is routine when the outfielder doesn’t see the ball. Enter Hunter Pence:
Tough way to lose a no-hitter pic.twitter.com/saPkkCoOBD— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 9, 2020
Pence lost the ball in the lights and could only stand and wait for the ball to land 20 feet behind him. What should have been the first out of the inning instead turned into a triple for Hernández, who scored one batter later on a groundout by catcher Austin Barnes.
The troubles snowballed for the Giants from there. Cueto would eventually leave in the same inning after allowing a three-run homer to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. It’s safe to say the pitcher was frustrated:
For what it's worth, not only did Cueto stay in the dugout after he was removed from the game, he kicked a concrete half-wall (albeit gently) with his left leg.— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 9, 2020
Cueto *just* left down the tunnel. He briefly took off his cleat and pointed at his right foot, smiling, so I'm guessing that was his problem area (and it wasn't too big a problem).— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 9, 2020
The Giants held on to defeat the Dodgers, 5-4.
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