On This Date in Sports June 3, 1995: Bip Spoiling Perfection

in collaboration with the

 Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos goes nine innings, retiring all 27 batters against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium. However, the Expos failed to score, sending the game to extra innings. The Expos scratched out a run in the tenth inning as Pedro Martinez returned to the mound for his chance at history. The bid for a perfect game would end on a double by Bip Roberts. The Expos would 1-0 as Mel Rojas got the last three outs. 

Pedro Martinez was born on October 25, 1971, in the Dominican Republic. The younger brother of Ramon Martinez, Pedro, followed in his brother’s footsteps by signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pedro made his debut in 1992, but many wondered if he would ever be an effective pitcher due to his small stature. After his first full season in Los Angeles, Pedro Martinez was traded to the Montreal Expos for Deliano DeShields. 

With the Dodgers, Pedro Martinez won ten games pitching primarily out of the bullpen in 1993. The Expos made him a starter in 1994 and watched Pedro begin to become a star as he won 11 games. As the Expos were purged after the strike, Pedro Martinez remained in Montreal as he was still young and was not a high priced player. The Expos, despite the loss of several stars, were playing well in the early part of the season with a record of 21-15 for manager Felipe Alou. The San Diego Padres meanwhile was sitting at 14-20 under rookie manager Bruce Bochy. 

Like the Expos, Pedro Martinez was off to a strong start in 1995, as he took the mound on a Saturday Night in San Diego with a 3-1 record, while Joey Hamilton the Padres starter was 0-2. The Expos threatened the score early, as they loaded the bases in the first inning. However, Tony Tarasco grounded out to end the inning. Both pitchers were at the top of their games, while the Padres could not touch Pedro Martinez, only allowed a single to Moises Alou in the first inning through the first seven.

In the eighth inning, the Expos got a single by Lou Frazier but failed to do any further damage, while in the ninth inning Moises Alou was erased on a double play as the game remained scoreless. After retiring the first 24 hitters, Pedro Martinez went to the mound, knowing he would not get a perfect game unless he retired 30 batters as the game was approaching extra innings. Pedro again set down the Padres in order as Eddie Williams pinch-hitting for Hamilton went down on strikes to end the inning. It was the ninth strikeout of the game for Pedro Martinez. 

Had the old rules existed, Pedro Martinez would be credited with a Perfect Game. However, in 1990 MLB ruled that any no-hitter or perfect game that goes into extra innings must continue, meaning any hit in extra-inning would end the bid. With Brian Williams on the mound for San Diego, Shane Andrews got a one-out single for Montreal. Pedro Martinez failed to get a bunt down, but Andrews got into scoring position when Lou Frazier was walked. Jeff Tredway followed an RBI single, to give the Expos a 1-0 lead.

With a 1-0 lead, Pedro Martinez had his shot, all he had to do was get through the tenth inning, and he would get his Perfect Game. However, Bip Roberts led off the tenth inning with a double, ending the perfect game and no-hit bids. Mel Rojas would come on in relief as the Expos now had to concentrate on winning the game. Roberts advanced to third on a wild pitch but failed to advance when Steve Finley grounded out to first. Tony Gwynn hit a ground ball to second, which Jeff Tredway fielded and threw home to Darrin Fletcher, who tagged out Bip Roberts trying to score the tying run. Ken Caminiti popped up to Mark Grudzielanek in foul territory to end the game as Rojas earned the save for Pedro Martinez and the Expos.