On This Date in Sports July 26, 1991: Hard Luck in LA

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Mark Gardner of the Montreal Expos has the best game of his life and gets the loss as the Los Angeles Dodgers have a 1-0 walk-off win in ten innings. Gardner did not allow a hit until the tenth inning. Previously it would have been credited as a No-Hitter, but a rule change prior to the 1991 season, made any No-Hit game lost in extra innings no longer count. Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, and Jay Howell combined to hold Montreal to two hits. Two days later, Dennis Martinez would pitch a perfect game for the Expos as the Dodgers had a rather feeble weekend. 

It was late July in Los Angeles; the Dodgers were in a pennant race; they were facing the Montreal Expos, who were wallowing at the bottom of the National League East. Leading the West, the Dodgers were 54-40. in first place in the West, as they began a series at Dodger Stadium against the Expos. Montreal was 42-53 and had fired Buck Rodgers and replaced him with Tom Runnels, as they were in a rebuild mode. 


Orel Hershiser, who had recently returned from Tommy John surgery, was making the start for Los Angeles, while Mark Gardner, a promising young pitcher, made the start for Montreal. The pitchers' duel took shape right away, as each team had one base runner in the first three innings. Eddie Murray reached base on a two-out walk in the first, while Tim Wallach had a second-inning single for the Expos but was quickly erased by a double play.

Ivan Calderon had a two-out walk for the Expos in the fourth and stole second, but the run-scoring threat went for naught as Tim Wallach ground to third. Orel Hershiser left the game for a pinch hitter in the sixth, allowing one hit and one walk with one strikeout. The Dodgers had their chance to break through in the eighth, as Kal Daniels walked to lead off the inning. Mike Scioscia bunted Daniels to second, but the rally ended when Daniels was tagged out as Dave Hansen hit into a double-play to short.

Kevin Gross pitched a perfect inning in the seventh and in the eighth but walked Spike Owen to start the ninth. Mark Gardner failed to get the bunt down, as Owen was forced out at second. Following a strikeout by Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom had a single to give the Expos two runners on base for Calderon, who filed out to rightfield. Gross was lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth, allowing one hit and one walk in three innings. In the ninth, Gardner finished the nine no-hit innings with a popup by Alfredo Griffin, a strikeout by Chris Gwynn, and a groundout from Brett Butler.

It was the first time that the Dodgers were held hitless over nine innings at home since Johnny VanderMeer's No-Hitter in 1938. However, the game was scoreless as Jay Howell pitched a perfect inning in the tenth. To be credited with a No-Hitter, Mark Gardner needed to pitch at least two more hitless innings as the game remained scoreless in the tenth. Lenny Harris ended the No-Hitter with a lead-off single. Eddie Murray followed with a single to put the winning run on third. Jeff Fassero would come in the game, relieving Gardner, who exited with two runners on base. Darryl Strawberry greeted Fassero with a single that would win the game for Los Angeles 1-0.

The Dodgers won the Saturday game 7-0 but saw their bats go silent again on Sunday as Dennis Martinez tossed a perfect game.