Though his quest for perfection fell short, Pineda finished with a 7 2/3-inning, two-hit, 11-strikeout effort in an 8-1 win may well have been the best game of his major league career.
One pitch later, the ideal game ended when Evan Longoria lined a clean double to left field. He flirted with a ideal game, sitting down the Rays' first 20 batters en route to a two-hitter in an 8-1 win by the New York Yankees.
NY won four of its first six games past year before sliding to a 9-17 start. The Rays took two of three from the Yankees to open the season and three of four from Toronto after Sunday's 7-2 triumph that was highlighted by a three-run homer from red-hot Steven Souza Jr.
NY took a 2-0 lead against Alex Cobb (1-1) on Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI double in the third and Judge's home run in the fourth, his second in two days.
"Your thinking is it's going to be another special day here at the Stadium", said manager Joe Girardi, who also added Pineda would have returned for the ninth if the no-hitter was still going.
But, here we are on April 12th, with Montgomery slated to make his Major League debut against the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees fifth starter.
Montgomery will throw his first pitch at 1:05 PM against the 5-3 Tampa Bay Rays. Everybody includes Evan Longoria, who has two home runs and five RBI despite a 6-for-26 (.231) start.
His performance, backed by three Yankees home runs, was more than enough. Cobb beat Pineda in Florida last week. Instead, the Yankees pushed back their other starters one day, a move based on Masahiro Tanaka's outing Saturday in Baltimore.
"It's satisfying because he did pitch well", Girardi said.
But before Longoria nixed Pineda's flawless day, the cooking maven and home décor queen broke one of baseball's most cherished unwritten rules: She talked about the ideal game before it was over.
The Yankees announced on Monday that the 24-year-old Montgomery, a standout performer for Sumter High School, the American Legion Sumter P-15's and the University of SC, had won the role as the team's fifth starter. On Thursday, he struck out eight and allowed a run in five innings while throwing 46 pitches for Class-A Tampa against Lakeland.
Pineda's ability to miss bats with his mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup is the reason NY has been so patient with him.
"Being in your own bed, it's going to be nice", manager Joe Girardi said.