When Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel left Monday’s start with a hamstring injury, things had the potential of going way south for the team. Instead, the Cubs’ bullpen did something that no team has done in nearly a century.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cubs are the first team in 99 years to have their bullpen pitch at least seven innings of perfect baseball to finish out a game.
Hammel was taken out of the game after two innings of work, and over the next seven innings, the Cubs’ relievers didn’t allow a single Los Angeles Dodgers hitter to reach base. Those seven perfect innings allowed the Cubs to win their sixth consecutive game, and also enabled them to match a feat accomplished by the 1917 Red Sox.
That Red Sox team accomplished the feat after starting pitcher Babe Ruth (yes, that Babe Ruth) was ejected from a 1917 game for arguing balls and strikes. Ruth walked the first batter of the game, and he was promptly tossed from the contest. Reliever Ernie Shore came in, caught the runner stealing second base, and retired the next 26 batters that he faced for the combined no-hitter.
While the Cubs didn’t get a no-hitter out of the game (Hammel surrendered one hit during his brief start), it was still a remarkable afternoon for the North Siders. The Cubs’ bullpen combined to strike out 11 of the final 21 batters in the game, with Travis Wood striking out four and Hector Rondon getting one strikeout as he picked up the save.