For one night, the Seattle Mariners perceived inability to hit in Safeco Field didn’t matter.
Because on Friday night, the Seattle Mariners pitching staff was unhittable.
A combination of six pitchers – starter Kevin Millwood and five relievers: Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen – combined to hold the Los Angeles Dodgers hitless in a 1-0 win.
The combined no-hitter was the 10th in major league history. It was the third no-hitter in Mariners’ team history. The other two came in the Kingdome. On June 2, 1990, Randy Johnson beat the Tigers, 2-0, while Chris Bosio no-hit the Red Sox in a 7-0 on April 22, 1993.
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“When you win a 1-0 ball game in that fashion, so many different people have to step up defensively and on the mound and that’s what you saw tonight,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
A crowd of 22,028 stood and cheered for entire bottom of the ninth as de facto closer Tom Wilhelmsen pitched final three outs leading to a raucous, but awkward celebration on the mound.
“I didn’t even know how to celebrate,” said third baseman Kyle Seager, who delivered the game-winning hit. “I’ve never been a part of something like this.”
The last time something like that happened was on June 11, 2003 when the Houston Astros used six pitchers to no-hit the Met, 8-0.
Unlike Seager, catcher Jesus Montero knew how to celebrate. The big catcher leaped into Wilhelmsen’s arms.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Montero said. “Amazing.”
Wilhelmsen joked it was like a train, a “Monteromotive” instead of the “Smoakamotive” charging the mound.
“I saw him coming at me,” he said. “I thought I was going to twist an ankle. But that’s why (Trainer Allen Wirtala) works us out. So I was ready for it.”
In any no-hitter, a few defensive plays needed to be made to preserve it. There were two that stood out for the Mariners both involving Dodgers’ speedy shortstop Dee Gordon.
Kyle Seager made a beautiful bare-handed pickup and throw on a drag bunt by Gordon to start the fourth.
In the ninth, Brendan Ryan came on as a defensive replacement at shortstop. Gordon hit a soft roller to short, Ryan gloved it and fired off the run to get the runner by a step.
But the bulk of the no-hitter work was done by Millwood.
The veteran right-hander, who threw a complete game no-hitter on April 27, 2003, pitched six strong innings. However, he tweaked his groin a little on the second to last pitch of the sixth inning.
“I felt something,” he said. “I threw the last pitch and I was lucky enough to just strike him out right there and just get off of the field. Then came in and got it wrapped up and went back out and see if I could keep going, and I couldn't push off. To stay out there would have just cost us a game.”
After throwing one warm-up pitch before the start of the seventh inning, Millwood motioned to the bench and Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin came to the mound. After a brief discussion, Millwood left the field.
“I'm going to be honest,” he said. “If I feel like I can keep throwing, I will. I couldn't even push off. It's stupid to just try to stay out there.”
From there it was all bullpen ...
Furbush, the Pryor, then Luetge, then League .... who was outstanding and seems to have found his splitfinger ... then Wilhelmsen.
- Nathan Eovaldi went 6.0 scoreless innings giving up only 5 hits while striking out 6 batters… this year, he is limiting opposing hitters to a .209 (14x67) batting average, including a .154 (8x52) average against left-handers… Eovaldi has yet to allow more than 6 hits in 9 career starts and only once has allowed more than 2 earned runs (8/28/11 vs. Colorado).
- Los Angeles’s bullpen has a 1.47 ERA (3 ER, 18.1 IP) over the last 7 games holding opponents to a .188 (12x64) batting average.
- Los Angeles was no-hit for the 11th time in team history (last: 6/28/08 vs. Los Angeles – AL)… the Dodgers were shut out for just the 2nd time this year.
- Seattle threw the 10th combined no-hitter in Major League history (last: 6/11/2003 Houston beat New York – AL)...
- Kevin Millwood, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, and Tom Wilhelmsen tied for the most pitchers used in a combined no-hitter (6)… It was the 3rd no-hitter in Mariner history, first since Chris Bosio, 4/22/1993 vs. Boston… the first no-hitter in Mariners history was Randy Johnson, 6/2/1990 vs. Detroit. It was the 42nd time in club history the Mariners won a 1-0 game (last: 4/21/11 vs. Oakland), first this year.
- Kevin Millwood left the game with a mild strain in his right groin after pitching 6.0 no-hit innings facing the minimum 18 batters… he is 3-1 with a 1.46 ERA (6 ER, 37.0 IP) over his last 6 games started… he has 30 strikeouts and is holding hitters to a .152 (19x125) batting average.
- Michael Saunders extended his hit streak to 6 games and has hits in 9 of his last 10 games… in those 10 games, Saunders is hitting .465 (20x43) with 9 runs scored, 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and 5 RBI.
- Kyle Seager collected his 23rd 2-out RBI of the season in the 7th inning… he is first in the AL in that category and second in the major leagues to Andre Ethier (25).
- Ichiro collected his 2491st career hit in the 3rd inning to pass Fred McGriff for 96th on the all-time career hits list… after going 3-for-4, he is now 7 hits away from 2,500 career hits.
- It was Ichiro’s 227th 3+ hit game, 3rd among active player (2nd: Alex Rodriguez, 235), and best since 2001 (2nd: Michael Young, 188)… his 770th multi-hit game, 4th among active players (3rd: Omar Viquel, 784), and 1st on that list since 2001 (2nd: Derek Jeter, 633).
- Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge combined to throw a hitless, scoreless inning… on the season, they are limiting left-handers to a .100 (6x60) with 30 strikeouts… Furbush has limited lefties to a .114 batting average (4x35) with 18 strikeouts, while Luetge has a .080 opponent average (2x25) with 12 strikeouts against lefties.
- Luetge has not allowed an earned run in his first 21 Major League appearances (13.2 IP), a club record for consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run (2nd: Kazuhiro Sasaki, 20).
- Seattle snapped a streak of 8 consecutive games with a home run, the longest streak since an 11 game streak in 2009.