Perhaps there was no better example of a team winning together. For one night, the Mariners 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.
“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.
“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 Yankees, 8-0.
Catcher Jesus Montero sure knew how to celebrate. The big catcher leaped into the arms of reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who pitched the final inning.
“I saw him coming at me,” he said. “That’s what we train for.”
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.
“If anyone can make that play, it’s Ryan,” Wilhelmsen said.
But the bulk of the no-hitter work was done by Millwood, who pitched a solo no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003 .
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.
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.
Wedge called on lefty Charlie Furbush, who was given as much time as needed to warm up off the mound.
Furbush got Dee Gordon to pop up, but then made a costly throwing error on Elian Herrera’s bunt attempt, throwing it wildly past Justin Smoak. With Herrera in scoring position on second, Furbush struck out Andre Ethier. Wedge then called on young Stephen Pryor to get the final out of the inning and preserve the no-hitter. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out Juan Rivera on a series of fastballs to end the inning.
Still even with the Dodger hitless, the Mariners had yet to muster a run or much of anything against Los Angeles starter Nathan Eovani to get the win.
But that changed in the seventh when Eovaldi was lifted.
Lefty specialist Scott Elbert started the seventh and after two quick strikeouts, pitched himself into trouble. He gave up an infield single to Ichiro Suzuki and then walked Dustin Ackley, bringing to the plate the Mariners’ most consistent hitter this season – Kyle Seager. After failing to come through with runners in scoring position in the third and fifth inning, Seager dumped a line drive single into left just off the glove a leaping Gordon to score Ichiro.
For a moment, it didn’t seem like that one run would be enough.
The hard-throwing Pryor fell out of rhythm and walked to the first two hitters of the eighth inning. Wedge called on lefty Lucas Luetge, who gave up a sac bunt to James Loney to move the runner into scoring position.
Wedge then called beleaguered reliever Brandon League to get the Mariners out of the situation, not just preserve the no-hitter.
League got A.J. Ellis to fly out weakly to left field. Defensive replacement Chone Figgins made a brilliant running catch and then strong throw home to freeze the runner. League then struck out Tony Gwynn Jr. to end the inning.
No-hitters thrown by the Seattle Mariners with date, pitcher(s) and result:
6-2-90 – Randy Johnson: Seattle Mariners 2, Detroit Tigers 0
4-22-93 – Chris Bosio: Seattle Mariners 7, Boston Red Sox 0
Friday – Millwood, Furbush, Pryor, Luetge, League and Wilhelmsen: Seattle Mariners 1, Los Angeles Dodgers 0
• It was the 10th time in major league history a team used more than one pitcher to throw a no-hitter. The first team to do it was the Boston Red Sox when starting pitcher Babe Ruth and reliever Ernie Shore no-hit the Washington Senators, 4-0, on June 23, 1917. Ruth was ejected for arguing with the umpire after walking the first batter.
• The Mariners tied the record for most pitchers used in a no-hitter (six). The Houston Astros used six pitchers – Roy Oswalt, Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner – in the 2-0 no-hitter against the New York Yankees on June 11, 2003.