A combined no hitter for the M’s
On Friday night in front of barely half a full house, the Seattle Mariners were all set to face the best team in all of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers. As one of the most storied franchises in the game, it was an honor to host a team of this magnitude.
With the ever great Mariners former DH Edgar Martinez back on the field to throw out the first pitch, you just new something special was brewing at Safeco.
Kevin Millwood, the aging pitcher who is hot one minute, and not the next, flirted with perfection for the second time this season. He was pitching masterfully against LA, until a fluke injury in his warm up tosses made him exit the game early, after six innings.
Just the Mariners luck right?
But honestly, the only thing L.A. was dodging tonight was the basepaths.
Five other M’s pitchers came in to seal the deal though, and picked up right where Millwood left off. Stephen Pryor was the one credited with the win, his first in the big leagues.
So here is the top six reasons to rejoice about the third no hitter in franchise history!
#6: Brandon League didn’t let us down for once
Coming into the game with two on and only one out, I thought that both the no-hitter, and shut-out were gone. Seriously, I had more than a few not so nice things to say to the TV during the 8th inning.
But low and behold, Brandon League came through for us. As did the always disappointing Chone Figgins, with the amazing throw to keep the tagged up runner at third at bay. Securing the lead, and the no-hitter.
Then the strike out of Tony Gwynn Jr. just seemed inevitable. It was intense, but a damn good job by League coming into that pressure filled situation.
#5: The finesse of Kevin Millwood
68 pitches. That’s all Millwood was allowed to throw tonight, but what a spectacle he put on with those 68 pitches. One walk, six K’s, and zero hits!
Two times now this season Kevin Millwood has methodically worked his magic through six innings of no hit baseball. I’m pretty sure he has earned his salary for the year already.
Nobody in their right mind would expect this out of him at this stage in his career. Not once, and surely not twice. Too bad he couldn’t get credit for the win tonight, because he sure as hell deserved it.
#4: Ted Barrett’s eye
On one of the closest plays I’ve seen this season, the no-no could’ve been ruined. That call would have been different if the game had a different story line no doubt.
There is no way that Barrett could’ve seen when exactly Gordon’s foot touched first, but by gosh, he got the call right.
Justin Smoak had just the right amount of stretch to nab the ball before Gordon got to first base. Saving the no-hitter, and the Mariners chance at history.
#3: Ichiro comes to the rescue
Ichiro has been a man possessed the last week since being moved back to the lead off spot. Once again tonight he was superb with three hits, including the one that started off the two out rally in the 7th inning.
There is always a little luck that goes into a no-hitter, and the way the ball deflected off of Dee Gordon’s glove, from the liner by Kyle Seager, was just the right amount of luck the M’s needed to win this game.
The speed, and tenacity of Ichiro got us the win tonight. Well, not to mention the six pitchers that didn’t give up a hit too.
#2: Eric Wedge’s decision to sub Brendan Ryan in the 9th
There are defensive substitutions late in ball games all the time. Bring on the guy who had the night off when the game is close, just in case, right?
Tonight that just in case saved the no-hitter. Not taking anything away from Munenori Kawasaki, but he is no Brendan Ryan. And a big thank you to Eric Wedge for realizing that, and making the change for the top of the 9th.
#1: The token, I had no idea a no-hitter was in place
Leave it to the guy who comes on in the 9th to not only earn the save, but protect the no-no to say he had no idea what was happening. C’mon, he’s practically the only guy left out in the pen, and has a front row seat for all of the dramatics going on since the 1st inning.
It does make for a good story though. I salute you Tom Wilhelmsen, at least the pressure didn’t get to you this way right?
So we can now add six more pitchers to the storied no-hitter record books in Cooperstown. Man, after the let down in Colorado, and the perfect game against us by the Sox, this just feels good.
I feel that we are coming around a bit. This bunch of nobody’s have taken the media by storm in the past few weeks.
Let’s hope this doesn’t end soon. I enjoy a little winning baseball in Seattle.