John Means threw the major leagues’ third no-hitter this season and came within a wild pitch on a third strike of a perfect game, pitching the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon.
Means struck out 12, matching a career high, and walked none. Seattle’s lone runner was Sam Haggerty after he struck out swinging on a curveball in the dirt on a 1-2 count with one outs in the third inning that bounced away from catcher Pedro Severino.
Haggerty wasn’t on base long, getting thrown out attempting to steal second.
Means threw 79 strikes among 113 pitches, including first-pitch strikes to 26 of 27 batters. When Seattle did make contact against the 28-year-old left-hander, it was weak and there were no threats to fall in for a hit.
“I can’t put it into words right now. It’s unbelievable,” Means said after his first complete game in 44 career big league starts. “I felt OK all game. I didn’t really have the changeup till the end, but I’m glad I got it going.”
Means became the first individual Orioles pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969. It was the 10th no-hitter in franchise history: six in Baltimore and four when they were the St Louis Browns. Baltimore had a combined no-hitter in 1991 against Oakland, the most recent for the franchise.
The Orioles ace lowered his ERA to 1.37 and became the first individual Orioles pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969. It was the 10th no-hitter in franchise history six in Baltimore after four as the St Louis Browns.
In a season in which batters are on track to hit a record-low .232, Means joined a no-hit club that includes gems by San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove at Texas on 9 April and by Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon against Cleveland on 14 April.
In addition, Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta on 25 April, but that is not recognized as an official no-hitter by Major League Baseball because the game did not go at least nine innings, shortened under pandemic rules in effect for a second straight season.
Center fielder Cedric Mullins made a sliding catch on JP Crawford short fly ball to end the sixth inning, the closest Seattle came to a hit. Kyle Lewis flied out to the warning track in left field leading off the eighth inning.
Means got a popout from Dylan Moore, struck out Haggerty swinging and got a soft liner from Crawford to end it, setting off a wild celebration with his teammates on the mound and a standing ovation from the Seattle crowd.
Baltimore’s previous no-hitter came on 13 July 1991, when Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for a 2-0 victory at Oakland,
On 13 August 1969, Palmer threw the only no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 win over the Athletics. Palmer threw 142 pitches and had six walks along the way three to Reggie Jackson but completed the only no-no of his career.
It was the first time in Means career he had pitched beyond seven innings in a start.
Means had plenty of offensive support. DJ Stewart and Ramon Urias both had RBI singles ofYusei Kikuchi in the third inning. Pat Valaika hit a solo home run off Kikuchi (1-2) in the sixth and Trey Mancini provided the big blow with a three-run shot off reliever Aaron Fletcher in the eighth inning.
It was the sixth homer of the season for Mancini.