Friday again proved the old baseball maxim that you simply never know what you are going to see when you head to the ballpark.
I’ve mostly been a fill-in baseball guy throughout my career and I’ve now covered two no-hitters — both combined. The first was the Mark Langston-Mike Witt no-hitter against the Mariners in 1990, which also means I have now seen 20 percent of all combined no-hitters in Major League baseball history .
The Mariners and their fans obviously liked this one a lot better. As Brendan Ryan said, one of the cool things about the way this game developed is that it was “such a collective team effort.”
Seattle used six pitchers and 11 position players (including the DH) with everybody ultimately contributing. None moreso than catcher Jesus Montero, whose ability to call and manage a game obviously gets a boost with this effort (and something I’m not sure made it into the game story, time and space making things a little hairy on that end tonight). Montero, 22, is the youngest catcher to catch a no-hitter since Ted Simmons for St. Louis in 1971.
You can read the nuts and bolts of what happened here in my game story.
Included in the story are the details of Kevin Millwood’s injury. He said he felt the strain in his right groin on the second-to-last pitch he threw, and then moreso on the final pitch. He wanted to continue and tried again in the seventh but said it “would have been stupid” to go on since he said he couldn’t push off.
That left the game in the hands of the bullpen — and all insisted later that simply winning the game was as important as preserving the no-no.
“To win the ball game,” said manager Eric Wedge of what he was thinking in the final innings. “When it’s a 1-0 ball game, that’s the only focus you can have is just to win the ball game because it is so tight, so anything beyond that is icing on the cake.”
On a night of history and lots of happy emotions, I wanted to pass along as much of it as I could. So here’s a ton of post-game video.
First, manager Eric Wedge:
Next are the five relievers:
Next is Mariner third baseman Kyle Seager:
Next is Millwood:
And finally, Ryan talking about his play in the final inning: