'Perfect' Hill pulled; Dodgers bullpen yields hit

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill was removed after throwing seven perfect innings in L.A.’s 5-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night, only to see the bullpen blow it in the eighth.

First-year manager Dave Roberts brought Joe Blanton in to start the eighth inning, but outfielder Jeff Francoeur singled to left field to spoil the perfect game.

Hill, 35, struck out nine and threw 89 pitches before being taken out.

Roberts said after the game that Hill, who had spent time on the disabled list this year with groin and blister injuries, was having finger problems.

After the game, Hill said he understood his manager’s rationale.

“Looking at it from a team aspect, there is always something that is bigger than any player,” Hill said. “You have to understand that.”

Hill added that his finger felt fine.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was longest perfect-game bid in the modern era (since 1900) by a pitcher who was removed from the game.

The Marlins ended up with two hits in their losing effort.

It isn’t the first time this season the Dodgers have pulled a pitcher who had yet to yield a hit during the game. On April 8, Roberts pulled rookie Ross Stripling from a no-hitter after 7 1/3 innings pitched in a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. The bullpen also gave up two hits in that game.

Left fielder Yasiel Puig made an outstanding diving catch for the final out of the seventh. Martin Prado hit a drive to deep left-center and Puig sprinted after it. As he approached the warning track, he dived toward the wall to make the catch about 355 feet from the plate.

Hill entered the game a combined 11-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 16 starts this year for Oakland and the Dodgers, who acquired him on Aug. 1. He has just three complete games in 91 big league starts over 12 seasons.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. ESPN’s Doug Padilla contributed to this report.

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