Michael Wacha looks like he might be ready to return to the Red Sox next week. Either way, he helped make some history on his way back to Boston.

Wacha made a rehab start with Triple-A Worcester on Thursday night and pitched 4 2/3 no-hit innings, which led the way for the first no-hitter in WooSox history – a combined effort by three pitchers – in their 12-0 win over the Durham Bulls at Polar Park.

Wacha, Andrew Politi and Chase Shugart combined to no-hit the Bulls. It’s the first no-hitter by Boston’s Triple-A affiliate since Bronson Arroyo pitched a perfect game for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2003.

Brayan Bello also threw one this year for a Red Sox affiliate when he fired a seven-inning no-hitter for Double-A Portland in May.

Thursday’s no-hitter included an anxious moment on the last play of the game. With two outs in the ninth, Josh Lowe hit a sinking liner to left field, but left fielder Devlin Granberg made a terrific diving catch.

Wacha hasn’t made a big-league start since June 28 because of shoulder inflammation, but he may only need one rehab start before returning. He was dominant on Thursday as he retired the first 13 batters he faced.


“I’m ready to be back there, for sure,” Wacha said after the game. “I was pretty pleased with how the ball was coming out and the command. Getting ahead of guys, and if I didn’t get ahead of guys, I was able to make a quality pitch to get back into the count. Oso (catcher Ronaldo Hernandez) was calling a good game back there and I was just trying to fill it up.”

Wacha struck out eight and allowed one walk. Politi tiptoed through a minefield of three walks over 2 1/3 innings before giving way to Shugart for the last two.

Most rehabbing big leaguers leave before the game is over. Wacha had showered already, but as he gathered his stuff, he overheard the television broadcasters talking about making history. He didn’t want to jinx it, so he didn’t ask out loud. But he peeked at the scoreboard and saw a 0 in the Bulls’ hit column. So he stayed.

“I was like ‘I’m going to hang out here and see what we got,’” said Wacha, who planned to save his cap to commemorate the night. “That was very cool.”

Politi didn’t realize it was happening until the ninth.

“With two outs in the game,” he said sheepishly when asked when it hit him.


Shugart threw a no-hitter in high school in Bridge City, Texas. Wacha and Politi had never been part of one. Neither had Manager Chad Tracy.

“That was pretty dang cool,” Wacha said. “It was pretty cool watching those guys shut it down there.”

Shugart had the ball and planned to send it to his grandparents. Tracy was regretting giving away the lineup card to a kid in the postgame.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” Tracy said. “I’ll find a game ball or something.”

THURSDAY’S GAME: The Red Sox chose not to get bullpen help at the trade deadline. Chaim Bloom said he explored different options, but ultimately didn’t find a deal that he thought made sense.

It didn’t take long for that to come back to haunt them.


In a tie game in the seventh inning Thursday night, things got ugly. Darwinzon Hernandez, who’s been in Triple-A for most of this season, gave up four runs – including a three-run homer by Salvador Perez – that ultimately sealed the Red Sox’ fate in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Instead of adding to their bullpen at the trade deadline, the Red Sox actually subtracted from it by dealing lefty Jake Diekman to the White Sox. Diekman was disappointing in four months with the Red Sox, but he’s still a better option than Hernandez, who spent the first three months of the season in Triple-A working on his control issues as he returned from a torn meniscus.

“He’s been throwing the ball well in Triple-A,” Cora said. “He’s here for a reason, because he was pitching well and we needed a lefty.”

But Hernandez allowed the first five batters of the inning to reach base.

Bobby Witt Jr. hit a go-ahead RBI single before Perez delivered the dagger – a three-run shot that required an umpires’ review after the ball hit the wall padding underneath the pole and was called a home run. The call was confirmed after the review, but it created confusion.

Cora was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Welke after going out to ask about the call. The manager, who didn’t seem particularly upset and didn’t look to really be arguing, had a look of surprise after being tossed. By rule, it’s not permissible to argue reviewed calls.

“I don’t want to get into that,” Cora told reporters. “I don’t think I deserved to be thrown out in that one. I was very calm, asking what happened and whatever, they threw me out. It happens, I guess.”

Cora said he thought the call would be overturned. But even if it was, it’s likely at least two runs would have scored on the play anyway.

“In our eyes, we thought the ball was in the ballpark and live in play,” Cora said.

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