In the supremely superstitious sport of baseball, nowhere is superstition more prevalent than in the midst of a no-hitter. The inner sanctum of said superstition involves never talking to the pitcher doing the deed. Don’t sit near him. Don’t acknowledge him in any way. Steer the hell clear.
This is how Giants third baseman Matt Duffy came to be so freaked out in the top of the ninth inning when he was approached from behind in the Giants dugout. The approacher: Chris Heston, moments away from sealing his no-hitter against the Mets. (Watch the final pitch here.)
In the eighth, Heston lost track of the outs—he thought there were two, but there was only one—and was doubled off of second base on Nori Aoki’s fly ball. It wiped a run off the board, as Duffy would have otherwise been able to tag up from third. This is how he came to approach Duffy in the dugout, to apologize for his unnecessarily reduced stat line.
“After the sixth, I didn’t want to go anywhere within five feet of him,” Duffy said in a San Jose Mercury News report. “We were in the dugout right before the ninth and he said, ‘Hey man, I’m sorry about that.’ I said, ‘Dude, uh, don’t worry about it. Don’t focus on that. It’s fine.’
“I was like, ‘Go talk to Nori.’ ”
Whether he talked to Nori was unclear. The move, however, proved jinx-proof.