No-no? No. At least, not yet …

They say third time’s the charm. However, that sure wasn’t the case for Dave Stieb in 1989. Though no one was more ‘due’ to record a no-hitter, Stieb was denied for a third straight time on August 4 against the Yankees that season.

Stieb89The year before, 1988, Toronto’s ace right-hander gave new meaning to the term ‘heartbreak’ when he endured two near-misses at recording his first career no-hitter. Unbelievably, the two occurrences came in back-to-back starts (Sept. 24 at CLE & Sept. 30 vs. BAL), and Stieb became just the sixth pitcher in Major League history to record two consecutive one-hitters. Even more remarkable was the fact that he lost both no-no’s with two out (and two strikes!) in the ninth inning.

That set the stage for Stieb’s third attempt at recording the elusive no-hitter. With the New York Yankees in town (August 4) to play in the new SkyDome, Stieb actually took a perfect game into the ninth inning this time, with the Blue Jays holding a 2-0 lead. With 48,789 fans on their feet, Stieb struck out pinch-hitters Hal Morris and Ken Phelps to come within one out of a perfect game. But, it wasn’t to be. With a 2-and-0 count, Yankee center-fielder Roberto Kelly doubled to left to put an end to Stieb’s bid at perfection.

The third time was certainly not the charm for Dave Stieb on that day. As for the fourth time, however …

Whether strategically planned or not, Alex Rios lifts a one-out fly ball to the perfect spot — Johnny Damon’s direction — to drive home the winning run on Tuesday night in a 3-2 Jays’ victory … With the score knotted at one in the seventh inning, Aaron Hill excites the crowd by recording the first straight steal of home by a Blue Jay since Raul Mondesi accomplished the feat back on April 17, 2001 (also against the Yankees) … Jesse Litsch and Tyler Clippard (combined age — 44 years, 6 months, 6 days) square off at Rogers Centre Wednesday night. For the record, their dual age leaves them one month and 20 days younger than that of former Blue Jay Roger Clemens, who will likely make his season debut next Monday …

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