Rangers’ Bartolo Colon loses perfect game in eighth inning

April 16 (UPI) — Texas Rangers veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon nearly pitched a perfect game against the World Series champion Houston Astros.

But he lost his bid at perfection in the eighth inning of the Rangers’ 3-1 win Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The 44-year-old right-hander — affectionately known as “Big Sexy” — went seven innings without giving up a hit or a walk, while striking out seven. He retired 21 consecutive hitters on 83 pitches.

Colon began the eighth inning by walking All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa. Josh Reddick followed the walk by hitting a line drive to right field for a double, breaking up the no-hitter.

Yuli Gurriel piled on by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Correa and preventing a shutout. Colon retired Marwin Gonzalez in the next at-bat, but was pulled from the game and replaced by Alex Claudio.

Gurriel’s RBI tied the game at 1-1, taking Colon off the hook for a win.

Robinson Chrinos’s 10th-inning double scored two runs, giving the Rangers the go-ahead runs. Right-handed reliever Keone Kela earned the victory on the hill for Texas, allowing a hit and a walk, while throwing a strikeout in one inning of work.

“Yeah, when I pitched seven innings … I started thinking about it,” Colon told reporters. “But I know that [Jose] Altuve and those guys can hit. Yeah, the sinker and the fastball; it was pretty much exactly what I wanted. It means a lot, not just for me, but for the team, because we won.”

Justin Verlander also pitched a gem on Sunday, allowing just one hit and one run, while striking out 11 and allowing one walk in eight innings.

The Rangers won the series 2-1. Houston starts a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners at 10:10 p.m. Monday at Safeco Field in Seattle. Texas begins a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:10 p.m. Monday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.