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On This Date in Sports September 2, 1990: Dave Stieb Gets His No-No

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Dave Stieb, who had lost four No-Hitters in the ninth inning, finally gets the first No-Hitter in Toronto Blue Jays franchise history. Stieb blanks the Cleveland Indians 3-0 at Municipal Stadium. Stieb recorded nine strikeouts, as Junior Felix caught a fly ball from Jerry Browne to end the game. It remains the only No-Hitter that a pitcher has thrown for the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Dave Stieb was born in Santa Ana, California, on July 22, 1957. Stieb failed to impress scouts playing outfield at Southern Illinois until he was pressed into a relief outing. The Toronto Blue Jays, in their second season, drafted Stieb in the fifth round of the 1978 MLB Draft. He made his debut one year later and posted an impressive 8-8 record over 18 starts for a Toronto team that lost 109 games. Dave Stieb represented the Blue Jays at the 1980 All-Star Game, winning 12 games in his first full season in the majors. 

As the Toronto Blue Jays became contenders, Dave Stieb became the face of the franchise, appearing in seven mid-summer classics and starting the 1983 All-Star Game in Chicago. In 1985, Stieb led the American League with a 2.48 ERA as the Blue Jays won their first division championship. On August 24, 1985, Stieb had a No-Hitter going into the ninth inning at Comiskey Park. The No-Hitter was broken up by back-to-back home runs by Rudy Law and Bryan Little. The Blues Jays beat the White Sox 6-3 as Stieb was relieved by Gary Lavelle. 

Three years later, Dave Stieb approached history again as he came one out away on September 24, 1988 before Julio Franco had an infield hit from the Indians in Cleveland. Stieb would get the final out as Toronto won 1-0. Six days later, Dave Stieb again was one out away, six days later as the Blue Jays hosted the Orioles, when Jim Traber blooped a ball over Fred McGriff, forcing Stieb to settle for a 4-0 one-hit win. In 1989, Dave Stieb was one out from a Perfect Game against the New York Yankees, when Roberto Kelly laced a double and scored on a single by Steve Sax, forcing Stieb to settle for a 2-1 win. 

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As September began, the Blue Jays were a longshot to win the East, sitting six games back of the Boston Red Sox. On a Sunday in Cleveland on Labor Day weekend, they had Dave Stieb on the mound against Bud Black, who was toiling in another lost season for the Cleveland Indians. Stieb walked two batters early in the game but found his grooved in the third by striking out the side. Toronto took the lead in the fourth inning on a home run by Fred McGrif. In the fifth inning, Manuel Lee had an RBI double that made it 2-0 in favor of the Blue Jays. 

It was a familiar scenario, as Dave Stieb went into the late innings, after striking out the side again in the sixth inning, allowing no hits through six innings. Stieb worked quickly through the seventh and eighth to reach the doorstep of history again, for the fifth time going into the ninth inning with a No-Hitter intact. The Blue Jays extended the lead to 3-0 with McGriff hitting a second home run off of Jesse Orosco. Chris James flew out to left and Candy Maldanado struck out, to have Stieb once again one out away. Alex Cole walked and stole second on defensive indifference as Jerry Browne had a flyball to Junior Felix to end the game, touching off a celebration.