Kevin Millwood had successfully pitched six hitless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers before being removed with a mild groin strain in the top-of-the-seventh after going to the mound to warm up. Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen combined to pitch the final three innings to throw the third no-hitter in Mariners history. The sextet joins Chris Bosio who blanked the Boston Red Sox in 1993 and Randy Johnson who did the same to the Tigers in 1990. Seattle won the game 1-0.
The no-no is the 10th combined no-hitter in big league history and the first since another sextet, started by Roy Oswalt and finished by his Astros teammates Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner, no-hit the Yankees in June 2003.
Millwood, having thrown just 68 pitches through his six innings, looked primed to continue the bid, but the Mariners thought it would be better to err on the side of caution by electing to go to the bullpen. He struck out six and walked just one in the outing.
As a whole, the six Mariners pitchers struck out nine and walked three in the victory, needing 114 combined pitches to accomplish the feat.
Millwood threw a solo no-hitter against Dustin Parkes’ own San Francisco Giants while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in April 2003. He improves his ERA to a solid 3.90 on the season, although the 37-year-old is on pace to set a career high in walk rate at 3.90 BB/9.
What’s perhaps most amazing about the Mariners combined no-hitter is that Jesus Montero, a man whose days behind the plate are numbered to say the least, caught the entire game and was perhaps the most excited of anyone in a Seattle uniform.
The night, however, was not without its controversy. In the bottom-of-the-ninth, Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon—who’s probably the fastest player in the Majors at the moment—led off with a soft flare that rolled to Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan. Ryan picked up the ball and threw to first, drawing an out call from first base umpire Ted Barrett. The replay, however, appeared to show that Gordon was in fact safe.
The evidence was not quite as clear as last week’s call that went the way of Johan Santana and his New York Mets when a hit ball was called foul to keep the no-hitter alive, despite its obvious fairness. That play would have resulted in a Carlos Beltran double. The major difference, however, was that this play meant more—it was 1-0 in the bottom-of-the-ninth.
No-hitters are fun and all, but this is yet another example of why Major League Baseball needs to implement instant replay on close calls. Nary a game goes by that couldn’t be effected by it.
It should be noted that the Dodgers lineup is not the most impressive bunch of world-beaters around: Names like Elian Herrera, Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu and Jerry Hairston Jr. don’t inspire images of the ’98 Yankees, after all.
The Mariners improve to 27-33 on the season, seven-and-a-half games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West.