LOS ANGELES -- Within minutes, Saturday's game went from historic to horrific for the San Diego Padres.
An out away from throwing nine no-hit innings for the first time in the club's 42-year history, what they got instead was their fourth consecutive loss.
Dodgers catcher Dioner Navarro hit a walk-off single to right field, a batter after Juan Uribe had broken up a no-no being tossed by five Padres pitchers. The Padres, who mustered only one hit themselves, dropped their second 1-0 game in as many nights at Dodger Stadium.
Starting pitcher Aaron Harang did most of the work for the Padres' staff, tossing the first six innings. But Harang, making his first start since being placed on the disabled list June 10 with a right foot contusion, was on a shorter-than-usual leash, and manager Bud Black opted to go into his well-rested bullpen after 95 pitches.
That bullpen was equally effective -- with Josh Spence, Chad Qualls, Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson keeping the Dodgers at bay -- until Uribe lined a two-out double just over the glove of left fielder Chris Denorfia.
Navarro then walked off with what Black called "a fly ball that dropped." Navarro's hit fell in the gap, leaving right fielder Will Venable no chance to make the play.
Gregerson, who took the loss, said in such a tight, tense game, the no-hitter was on no one's mind.
"Who cares? The starter was out of the game," a frustrated Gregerson said. "What does it matter at that point? It's only fun if the starter goes nine innings and throws a no-hitter and your guys score some runs. To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone in the bullpen knew there was a no-hitter going."
But in the dugout, Black was very aware. He didn't let that affect his decision to remove Harang, who had thrown 70 pitches in a rehab outing on Monday.
"The guy hasn't pitched in a month," Black said. "Go out for the seventh and then what? Go out for the eighth and then the ninth? Throw 130 pitches when he hasn't pitched for a month?"
Harang came off the disabled list earlier than expected after feeling no ill effects from the foot injury in his first rehab start. He was not on a specific pitch count, but had he thrown another rehab, it would have been 80-90 pitches.
At another place and time, Harang said, he would have fought through his rising pitch count, which took a major hit early with 37 first-inning pitches. But he understood and agreed with Black's decision, even though the competitor in him wanted to stay on the mound.
"He doesn't want me to end up back on the DL with a shoulder problem now because I went 140 pitches," Harang said. "I wanted to stay out there."
Ultimately, Harang said it was two first-inning walks -- both coming on full counts littered with foul balls -- that did him in.
"I felt great," Harang said. "I was commanding the ball well, I felt like my offspeed stuff was there. It was just that first inning with [Andre] Ethier and [Matt] Kemp battling me."
No Padres pitcher has ever tossed a no-hitter, but they've had their share of close calls. They have had 18 no-hitters into at least the eighth inning. In July 1972, Steve Arlin's no-no was broken up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The last combined no-hitter came when six Astros blanked the Yankees in June 2003. Saturday's game would have been the 10th combined no-hitter in MLB history.
But the nine innings wouldn't have been enough for a win, with the Padres' offense continuing to struggle. They haven't scored a run in 20 innings, and Dodgers starter Rubby De La Rosa made sure that continued.
"It's tough, man, but again, they've had some guys out on the mound that have done a great job as well," said center fielder Cameron Maybin, whose fifth-inning liner to center was the Padres' only hit. "You've gotta give those guys some credit, too. Runs have been very scarce."
The Padres didn't put a man on base in the final three innings against the Dodgers' bullpen. In the first six innings, De La Rosa walked the leadoff man three times, but San Diego left him in scoring position in each of those situations.
"There was a lot of intensity in the game," Black said. "Especially low-scoring games, like last night -- any game that hinges on one pitch is always gonna be high drama."
For Black, that drama took a turn for the worse on Navarro's base hit. With the loss, the Padres fell into a tie with the Dodgers for last place in the National League West, 11 games below .500.
Orlando Hudson made a pair of solid defensive plays, one a diving stop to his left and the other a glove flip on a slow roller to keep the no-hitter alive. Qualls also made a nice stab of a one-hopper before throwing to first to end the seventh. But it all went for naught.
Asked if the loss hurt more after losing the no-hitter, Black's response was simple.
"Every loss hurts," Black said, before repeating himself. "Every loss hurts."
AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.