It was a no-hitter bid that began with a base hit.
In the very first at-bat of a memorable night at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, Angels outfielder Taylor Ward hit a shallow fly ball to right-center field.
Dodgers teammates Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts collided while tracking it down.
The ball briefly nestled into Betts’ glove but was jarred loose as he crashed to the ground. Initially, it was ruled a single by official scorer Jerry White. A few minutes later, however, the official decision was switched to an error.
It would be nine more innings before Tyler Anderson gave up a hit.
In front of 50,812, Anderson flirted with history all the way until the ninth, when Shohei Ohtani laced a first-pitch triple into the right-field corner in the Dodgers’ eventual 4-1 win against the Angels.
Up until then, Ward’s blooper appeared to be the closest the Angels would come to recording a hit.
Mike Trout drew a walk later in the first, before Ohtani and Matt Duffy both struck out. Jared Walsh was hit by a pitch to leadoff the second, only to be stranded after Anderson recorded three straight outs.
From there, the left-hander with the 90-mph fastball, unrelenting changeup and herky-jerky delivery was unstoppable. He retired 17 batters in a row over the next six innings, a stretch that was only snapped by another uncertain scoring decision.
With two outs in the seventh, Walsh hit a slow roller halfway up the first-base line. Anderson fielded the ball but spiked his throw to first. Following a brief delay, the play was ruled an error.
Juan Lagares flied out in the next at-bat to end the inning. The pursuit of history continued.
In the eighth inning, Anderson issued a leadoff Kurt Suzuki. He needed shortstop Trea Turner to knock down a well-hit grounder by pinch-hitter Max Stassi for a fielder’s choice. But, Anderson kept the no-no alive with a strikeout of Ward, and returned to the mound in the ninth even though his 117 pitches at that point already marked a career high.
Anderson struck out Trout looking to get to within two outs of what would have been the 24th no-hitter in club history.
But on the next pitch, Ohtani laced a line drive into right that got past a diving effort from Betts near the line.
It was the final action of Anderson’s incredible night, the left-hander exiting the game to a standing ovation and words of encouragement from manager Dave Roberts.
Heaney ‘possible’ for Sunday
A night after Andrew Heaney completed his minor-league rehab assignment with a scoreless five inning start in double A, Roberts said the left-hander could be available to return to the Dodgers rotation as soon as Sunday’s series finale against the Cleveland Guardians.
“It’s possible,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to go on record right now, but once we get our pitching guys to kind of huddle up and talk to Andrew, then we’ll know a definitive answer, probably tomorrow.”
Roberts said Heaney was expected to fly back into Los Angeles on Wednesday night, but wasn’t sure if he’d make it to the ballpark for the game.
A night after Trout’s broken bat struck him in the face, umpire Nate Tomlinson didn’t work Wednesday’s game but was doing OK, according to Angels manager Phil Nevin.
Tomlinson was injured in the ninth inning Tuesday, when Trout’s the broken end of Trout’s bat struck him in the face on the follow-through of the swing. The shard went the the eye slot in Tomlinson’s mask, injuring his nose and leaving a cut above his eye.
A person with knowledge of the situation told the Times that Trout — who turned around when his bat struck Tomlinson, but quickly had to run to first base when his fly ball dropped in shallow center field — had been in touch with Tomlinson on Wednesday.
In Tomlinson’s absence, another umpire, Alan MacKay, was added Wednesday’s crew to take his place.
Staff writer Sarah Valenzuela contributed to this report.