No-hit bid includes ejection of Pierzynski

HOUSTON -- Yu Darvish's no-hit bid in a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros was lost Monday with one out in the eighth inning.

Before that, the Texas Rangers' ace was trying for a perfect game.

The bid for perfection was lost with a walk to Astros No. 9 hitter Jonathan Villar with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. What followed was catcher A.J. Pierzynski disputing the call and getting ejected by home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.

Pierzynski was upset about a 2-2 slider that Darvish threw right around the knees of Villar that was called a ball. Darvish tried another slider with a full count and the pitch was low for ball four.

Pierzynski responded by taking off his catcher's mask and having words with Kulpa. The conversation continued as the Rangers' catcher took a few steps to the mound. Kulpa almost immediately ejected him.

"Ron did what he needed to do and it was over," Pierzynski said. "I was hoping Yu would throw a no-hitter.

"I thought it was (a strike) and Ron didn’t and I was upset we walked a guy, and I said a bad word and I was ejected. That was it and it’s over."

Kulpa explained himself to a reporter after the game, and while he didn't get the count of the pitch in dispute correct, he did offer up what happened.

“Pierzynski didn't like the 3-1 pitch that I (called for a ball)," Kulpa said. "We had words about the 3-1 pitch. And then he walked him on the very next pitch and he continued to argue on the pitch before. And he got ejected.”

Kulpa was asked why the pitch was called a ball.

“I had it down,” Kulpa said.

And what happened after that between Pierzynski and Kulpa?

“He said enough to get ejected,” said Kulpa, who already isn't a fan favorite in Texas after a missed call in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, won by St. Louis in seven games.

At least one Rangers player, closer Joe Nathan -- as badly as he wanted Darvish to get a no-hitter, thought Kulpa made the right call after seeing the replay. The pitch tracker on Brooksbaseball had it as a borderline pitch.

"You want those pitches, especially in a spot like this," Nathan said. "But you can't blame the umpire right there. Obvously it was a very tight pitch. I think if you go back and look at it, he did get the call right. As much as you want it, you still have to be fair. (Kulpa) did a a good job of not getting caught in the moment and starting to ring up guys just because."

If Darvish had finished the no-hitter, it would have been historic with two catchers combining to get there because one of them was ejected.

"I wanted him to throw a no-hitter so Yu would have thrown it to two catchers instead of one," Pierzynski said.

Instead, Darvish has lost a perfect game bid in the ninth inning and no-hitter in the eighth this season at Minute Maid Park. He had retired 26 Astros in a row April 2 before shortstop Marwin Gonzalez -- now in the minor leagues -- hit a sharp single through Darvish's legs and into center field.

The no-hit bid Monday ended with Carlos Corporan's 383-foot home run to right field with one out in the eighth inning.

For his part, Darvish didn't seem fazed by missing out at a chance at history once again.

“I think I’ve said this before, a win is a win," Darvish said. "I’m so glad that I was a big part of this win.”