Two and a half months after moving to the Kansas City Royals in the trade for Mike Moustakas, Jorge Lopez nearly tasted history before falling back to Earth in the ninth inning on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins.
Lopez mowed down the first 24 Twins in order and sat at just 100 pitches heading into the ninth, three outs away from the first perfect game in Royals history and the 24th in MLB history. That was as far as he would get.
First, Max Kepler worked a five-pitch walk to lead off the ninth. That was the end of Lopez’s perfect game. Then, Robbie Grossman singled up the middle for the Twins’ first hit. That was the end of Lopez’s no-hitter and his night, as Wily Peralta was called in to relieve the 25-year-old. Then, the shutout was broken on Ehire Adrianza’s sacrifice fly. The Royals eventually won 4-1.
Lopez entered Saturday’s game with a 4.47 ERA in 17 career pitching appearances and just six starts, so coming so close to a perfect game was a shocker even if he wasn’t able to complete his bid for one of the game’s greatest accomplishments. He also held a 5.26 ERA in 26 appearances (two starts) in Triple-A ball this year.
Lopez was basically the third most notable player in a three-player trade between the Royals and Brewers at the trade deadline, with Moustakas reinforcing the Brewers infield and Lopez and outfield prospect Brett Phillips heading to the Royals.
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