DETROIT – Brad Penny took having a no-hit bid broken up on an infield single in stride and without a hint of disappointment after the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox, 9-0, Saturday.
The fans at Comerica Park did not.
With one-out in the sixth inning, Brent Morel hit a chopper down the third-base line. Brandon Inge backhanded it behind the bag and made a throw in the dirt that first baseman Miguel Cabrera couldn’t field cleanly to attempt a tag on Morel.
“I still don’t think I would’ve thrown a no-hitter,” Penny said. “My pitch count was getting up there. I’m sure I would’ve given up a hit at some point.”
Official scorer Ron Kleinfelter called it a hit, not an error that would’ve kept the no-hitter intact, after watching the replay.
“My decision is based on my understanding and application of ordinary effort,” Kleinfelter said 45 minutes after the game. “Based on that, I stand by my call. It was a base hit. Pure and simple.”
Most of 35,227 fans in attendance booed, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland agreed with Kleinfelter’s decision.
“I thought it was a hit,” Leyland said. “It was a nasty play, a tough play, and he didn’t get what he wanted to on the throw.”
Chicago’s Juan Pierre, who was standing in the on-deck circle during the play, also thought the scorer got it right.
“There’s no way that’s a routine play,” Pierre said. “Inge makes a lot of plays look routine, but that doesn’t mean they are, especially since Mo can get down the line.”
Penny (1-2) pitched seven innings, allowing a hit and walking two over his 95-pitch outing. The two-time All Star insisted it didn’t bother him to potentially come close to his first no-hitter.
“To get the win is a lot more important,” he said.
The Tigers (11-10) have won three straight to go over the .500 mark for the first time this year.