37 year-old Kevin Millwood was throwing smoke, with complete command of his fastball through six innings, before suddenly pulling himself from the game as he warmed up for the seventh inning with what was described as a mild groin strain. You could see the look of shock on the crowd’s faces (after all, he was throwing a no-hitter at that point), but they quickly got back in the game as relievers Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen pitched the final three innings.
With six pitchers used by the Mariners, Seattle tied the major-league record for the most pitchers used in a no-hitter (the other time the Houston Astros in 2003) and this was the 10th combined no-hitter in major-league history.
There were two huge opportunities for the Dodgers late in the game, where LA was just unable to capitalize, and that was primarily due to shrewd managing by M’s skipper Eric Wedge.
First, in the 8th inning with runners on second and third with one out, AJ Ellis hit a shallow pop-up to left field. With pinch runner Alex Castellanos on third, the Dodgers had a halfway decent shot at scoring, but Wedge had just put Chone Figgins in in left field. Figgy went on to make an incredible running catch and throw (he threw the ball so hard he literally pulled himself over), holding Castallanos in his tracks.
Then, leading off the ninth inning, Wedge put defensive specialist Brendan Ryan in at shortstop. When Dee Gordon hit a weak grounder to short, it looked like this would be the Dodgers first hit of the game. After all, this is the type of play Gordon makes routinely with his speed. But Ryan is also known for making these plays, and his arm won out over Gordon’s legs. The Dodgers went quietly after that.
Next up is a 4:15 start with Kershaw on the mound. I’ll be at the game today, so keep an eye on our Twitter feed, for pre-game and in-game updates and photos.
Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/ ©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2012