The Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano threw a neutral site no-hitter, eight years ago today.
The Houston Astros had a game scheduled against the Cubs on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008, but the team was forced to play the game outside of Houston because of Hurricane Ike. The Brewers offered Miller Park, and the stadium’s close proximity to Chicago made the game feel like a Cubs’ home game.
Zambrano held the Astros hitless while striking out 10 batters and walking one to lead Chicago to a 5-0 win in front of 23,441 fans.
Part 4 of our look at baseball’s six “other” back to back starts — the nightcap of a day-night blog-post doubleheader — features the Detroit Tigers’ Les Cain.
Our series is in recognition of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer’s amazing accomplishment 78 years ago. On Saturday, June 11, 1938, Vander Meer no-hit the Boston Bees at home at Crosley Field. Four days later, he threw another no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field to become the only major-league pitcher to throw back-to-back no-nos.
Mike Moore, Frank MacCormack, Gary Gentry, Les Cain, Sandy Koufax and Rex Barney all threw back-to-back no-hit starts, though none of their outings went nine innings. The details of those starts generated using http://www.baseball-reference.com‘s superb Play Index are below, and we’ve been taking a closer look at each of the pairings each day.
No. 4: Les Cain
Les Cain was a member of the Detroit Tigers rotation in 1970 and 1971, starting 55 games over the stretch. That’s second only to Mickey Lolich.
But Cain began drawing the ire of Manager Billy Martin in the start of the 1972 season after getting off to an 0-3 start. Cain’s struggles were partially attributed to a bad shoulder, but it was clear by newspaper accounts that Cain was getting on Martin’s nerves.
Cain took the ball against Milwaukee at Tiger Stadium on May 24, 1972, and held the Brewers hitless through 5 1/3 innings, but he got into trouble in the sixth inning by issuing his third, fourth and fifth bases on balls of the night. Cain walked pinch hitter Ron Theobald and retired Bob Heise on a ground out before walking Tommie Reynolds and George Scott. Martin gave the ball to reliever Fred Scherman, who allowed all three inherited runners to score.
“Do you know that Cain has started 64 games and finished just eight?” Martin asked the AP. “Apparently he’s a shutout pitcher if he would just stay away from the walks.”
Cain’s next start came four days later at Yankee Stadium, and after Cain issued a leadoff walk to Horace Clarke, Martin had seen enough. Cain was pulled from the game,. placed on the disabled list and never again appeared in a game for the Tigers or any other MLB team.
Cain had just technically thrown back-to-back no-hit starts, and they were his last in the majors.
We’re continuing our look at baseball’s six “other” back to back starts in recognition of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer’s amazing accomplishment 78 years ago.
On Saturday, June 11, 1938, Vander Meer no-hit the Boston Bees at home at Crosley Field. Four days later, he would no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field to become the only major-league pitcher to throw back-to-back no-nos.
Mike Moore, Frank MacCormack, Gary Gentry, Les Cain, Sandy Koufax and Rex Barney all threw back-to-back no-hit starts, though none of their outings went nine innings. The details of those starts generated using http://www.baseball-reference.com‘s superb Play Index are below, and we’re taking a closer look at one each day:
No. 2: Frank MacCormack
The Detroit Tigers’ Frank MacCormack, who was 0-5 on the season, got the start against the Brewers at Milwaukee County Stadium on July 26, 1976, and nearly backed his way into the record books despite a brief horrible outing.
We’ll let Retrosheet give the play-by-play for MacCormack’s one-third-inning appearance:
BREWERS 1ST: Joshua flied out to center; Money walked; MacCormack threw a wild pitch [Money to second]; Scott walked; MacCormack threw a wild pitch [Money to third, Scott to second];
Aaron walked; CRAWFORD REPLACED MACCORMACK (PITCHING)
Jim Crawford took over with the bases loaded and walked in two runs, but finished out the inning without allowing a hit as the Brewers led 2-0. Starting with the final out of the first inning, Crawford retired 22 straight batters and didn’t lose the combined no-hitter until the ninth, when George Scott led off with a single to center. The Tigers wound up winning 4-3 in the 13th inning.
MacCormack never pitched another inning for the Tigers, but the Seattle Mariners drafted him from the Tigers in the 1976 expansion draft.
MacCormack got his next start during the second game of an April 24, 1977 doubleheader at the Kingdome, and this time he made it into the fourth inning without allowing a hit, but his wildness against the Kansas City Royals got the best of him.
MacCormack began the game by walking George Brett and he allowed him to advance to second on a wild pitch. He then hit John Mayberry with a pitch but escaped the inning without allowing a run. The second inning was less eventful, with just a lone walk, but MacCormack got into trouble in the third.
He again led off the inning by walking Brett and then hit Hal McRae with a pitch. He managed to get one line-out before throwing a wild pitch to Mayberry, allowing Brett to score. He got out of the third, but when he walked Cowens to lead off the fourth inning, Manager Darrell Johnson called to the bullpen for John Montague, who finished out the game for a 4-2 victory.
The two games weren’t pretty, but MacCormack can say he had back-to-back no-hit starts.
The Miami Marlins just missed throwing baseball’s 296th no-hitter on Friday night, failing to get the final four outs for starter Adam Conley. Conley threw 7⅔ of no-hit ball against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park as the Marlins held on for a rocky 6-3 win.
Jose Urena (⅔) got the final out of the eighth inning after misplaying a ball on the first batter he faced. The play was generously ruled and E-1, and Urena properly played the second come-backer to escape the inning. He got the first out in the ninth before Jonathan Lucroy blooped a single to right to kill the combined no-no.
The game would have been the first in major-league history to feature both a no-hitter and a triple play.
In the top of the fifth with no out and two on, third-baseman Aaron Hill fielded a ball off the bat of Marcell Ozuna and started a 5-4-3 around-the-horn triple-play.
It would have been the sixth no-hitter in the Marlins’ 25-year history. The last was on Sunday, September 29, 2013, by Henderson Alvarez for a 1-0 win at Marlins Park. Alvarez launched into his celebrated his no-no celebration from the on-deck circle on a walk-off wild pitch.
The last no-hitter against the Brewers was on Tuesday, June 12, 2007, by the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander for a 4-0 Detroit win at Comerica Park.
Miller Park’s only no-no remains a neutral site no-no by the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano.
Conley was trying to become the third pitcher in major-league history to throw a no-hitter while wearing the No. 61. The other two are Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett. If Conley and Urena could have notched a combined no-no, it would have been the first started by a No. 61 and completed by a No. 62.
In Seattle, the Kansas City Royals’ Kris Medlen took a no-hitter against the Mariners into the sixth inning before losing it on a Seth Smith lead-off homer.
April 27 is one of four days sharing the record for most no-hitters with six. The others are May 15, September 20 and September 28.
Here are the no-hitters thrown on April 27:
Boston Braves (NL)
Thursday, April 27, 1944
Boston Braves 2, Brooklyn Dodgers 0
Braves Field (Boston)
Baltimore Orioles (AL)
Saturday, April 27, 1968
Baltimore Orioles 6, Boston Red Sox 0
Memorial Stadium (Baltimore)
Kansas City Royals (AL)
Friday, April 27, 1973
Kansas City Royals 3, Detroit Tigers 0
Tiger Stadium (Detroit) (His first of two no-hitters)
Minnesota Twins (AL)
Wednesday, April 27, 1994
Minnesota Twins 6, Milwaukee Brewers 0
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minneapolis)
Boston Red Sox (AL)
Saturday, April 27, 2002
Boston Red Sox 10, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0
Fenway Park (Boston)
Philadelphia Phillies (NL)
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Philadelphia Phillies 1, San Francisco Giants 0
Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)
The May 15 crew includes Claude Hendrix, Clyde Shoun, Virgil Trucks, Don Cardwell, Nolan Ryan and Len Barker. Sept. 20 was kind to Larry Corcoran, Jimmy “Nixey” Callahan, Nick Maddox, Frank Smith, Hoyt Wilhelm and Bob Moose.
Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter thrown on the final game of 2014 added September 28 to the list, with Ed Cushman, Allie Reynolds, Ryan, an Oakland A’s tandem (Vida Blue 5, Glenn Abbott 1, Paul Lindblad 1 and Rollie Fingers 2) and Homer Bailey joining Zimmermann.
The Colorado Rockies aren’t the only franchise to exit the no no-no club on this day.
Forty-seven years ago today, on April 17, 1969, the Montreal Expos’ Bill Stoneman no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies for a 7-0 victory at Connie Mack Stadium in just the Expos’ ninth game. It’s the earliest a franchise has ever knocked the accomplishment off its bucket list. Stoneman would get one more no-no in 1972 and Expos pitchers would throw two more before the move to D.C. Jordan Zimmermann threw the Nationals’ first no-no on Sept. 28, 2014. Max Scherzer added two Nationals no-hitters last season.
The San Diego Padres, an expansion partner of the Expos, are still awaiting the team’s first no-hitter.
Here’s when the other two 1969 expansion teams exited the no no-no club:
Kansas City Royals
In his 10th Major League start, Kansas City Royals starter Steve Busby no-hit the Detroit Tigers for a 3-0 victory on April 27, 1973 despite walking five batters. Busby would throw another no-hitter on June 19, 1974, becoming the first pitcher to ever throw two no-nos in his first two full seasons (he had thrown a couple late-season games in 1972). Other Royals pitchers would throw two more no-hitters to give the franchise a total of four.
The Pilots lasted just one season in Seattle, and the team couldn’t notch a no-hitter or even a one-hitter during those 162 games (they did get three two-hitters). After the squad moved to Milwaukee and was renamed the Brewers, the franchise would have to wait 17 years for its first no-hitter. Juan Nieves became the first Puerto Rico native to throw a no-no on April 15, 1987 as the Brewers topped the Baltimore Orioles 7-0. Robin Yount made a game-ending diving catch to preserve Nieves’ gem, which remains the Brewers’ only no-no.
Juan Nieves threw the only Milwaukee Brewers no-hitter to date, 29 years ago today.
On Wednesday, April 15, 1987, at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Nieves no-hit the Orioles for a 7-0 win. The Brewers’ Robin Yount made a diving catch in right-center field for the final out. Nieves, who was born in the Santurce section of San Juan, is the first Puerto Rico-born pitcher to throw a major-league no-hitter.
(Feature image courtesy of the Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library)
When the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia entered the sixth inning Thursday with a no-hitter but not a perfect game intact, the game carried a rather odd tidbit: The only Milwaukee Brewer to reach base at the time did so by striking out and taking first on a dropped ball.
A major-league no-hitter has never ended with the only runner reaching base on a strikeout — but the rarity has happened once … in Korea.
On Friday, May 23, 1997, the Hanwha Eagles’ Jeong Min-cheol no-hit the OB Bears for an 8-0 win at Jeonju Baseball Stadium. Min-cheol’s gem would have been a perfect game if a batter hadn’t reached first base on a dropped third strike.
Thursday at Busch Stadium, Garcia struck out 13 for a 7-0 complete-game 1-hit victory. He lost his no-hitter in the sixth inning when Domingo Santana singled to right. Garcia later allowed another base runner on an eighth-inning walk.