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Hitless victory by Dodgers puts a spotlight on Young

While pitching for Boston, the left-hander held Cleveland without a hit for eight innings but lost, 2-1, in a 1992 game.

June 30, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Matt Young was vacationing on a boat in Catalina on Saturday night when his cellphone and the phones of his two kids started lighting up and vibrating with calls and text messages.

The Dodgers had become the fifth team in baseball's modern era to win a game without a hit, defeating the Angels, 1-0, despite the efforts of right-handers Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo, who combined for eight no-hit innings.

The last team to do it was the Cleveland Indians, who beat Boston, 2-1, on April 12, 1992, despite being no-hit for eight innings by the left-handed Young.

All of a sudden, about 15 years after his 10-year big league career ended, Young's name was being plastered all over television and the Internet.

"My first impression was, 'Oh my God, that was 16 years ago, I'm not that old,' " Young, 49, said. "I didn't see the game, but I saw the highlights. I started cracking up. I don't remember it being that long ago."

But the memories of that frigid Sunday in Cleveland's old Municipal Stadium are still fresh for Young, who grew up in Sierra Madre, played at UCLA, played with the Dodgers in 1987 and now lives in Pasadena.

Making his first start of the season in the first game of a doubleheader, Young walked Kenny Lofton to open the first inning. Lofton stole second base and third base and scored on an error.

Young walked the first two batters of the third inning, and two fielder's choice grounders gave the Indians a 2-0 lead. The Red Sox had nine hits but scored only once, in the fourth inning.

"We put runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the ninth and Jody Reed was up," Young said. "I was thinking, 'Great, they'll bunt here, we have a little opportunity.' Two pitches later, the game was over. Reed flied to left, and Mike Greenwell hit into a double play. Things were looking so good."

Had the Red Sox rallied, though, Young isn't sure he would have made it out for the ninth inning. He walked seven batters, and his pitch count reached 125 when he struck out Mark Whiten to end the eighth.

"I wasn't the same the rest of the year," said Young, who finished 0-4 with a 4.58 earned-run average that season. "They're not going to take you out with a no-hitter, but I threw a complete game my next start too. That was too many pitches too early in the season."

The ball from Young's no-hit game is in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., but Young's odd loss was only part of a historic day.

Roger Clemens threw a two-hit shutout in Boston's 3-0 win in the second game, and the two-hit combination by Young and Clemens was a major league record for fewest hits given up by one team in a doubleheader.

"We gave up two hits in a doubleheader, the lowest ever," Young said. "And we split."

Young has never met Weaver, who was pulled for a pinch-hitter after throwing six no-hit innings Saturday night, but he felt his pain.

"You're pitching the game of your life, and you want everyone to pile on you at the end," Young said. "At the very least, you want to win the game. . . . Tell Jered I feel for him. I've been that guy too."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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