John Means threw the major leagues’ third no-hitter this season and came within a wild pitch on a third strike of a perfect game, pitching the Baltimore Orioles over the Seattle Mariners 6-0 Wednesday.
Means (4-0) struck out 12 and walked none. Seattle’s runner was Sam Haggerty after he struck out swinging on a curveball in the dirt on a 1-2 count with one outs in the third inning that bounced away from catcher Pedro Severino.
Haggerty wasn’t on base long, getting thrown out attempting to steal second.
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Means threw 79 strikes among 113 pitches, including first-pitch strikes to 26 of 27 batters. When Seattle did make contact against the 28-year-old left-hander, it was weak and there were no threats to fall in for a hit.
“I cant put it into words right now. It’s unbelievable,” Means said after his first complete game in 44 career big league starts. “I felt OK all game. I didn’t really have the changeup till the end, but I’m glad I got it going.”
Means lowered his ERA to 1.37 and became the first individual Orioles pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969. It was the 10th no-hitter in franchise history — six in Baltimore after four as the St. Louis Browns.
In a season in which batters are on track to hit a record-low .232, Means joined a no-hit club that includes gems by San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove at Texas on April 9 and by Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodón against Cleveland on April 14.
In addition, Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta on April 25, but that is not recognized as an official no-hitter by Major League Baseball because the game did not go at least nine innings, shortened under pandemic rules in effect for a second straight season.
The closest Seattle came to a hit through six innings was J.P. Crawford’s short fly ball in the sixth inning that center fielder Cedric Mullins made a sliding catch to grab. Kyle Lewis provided a threat with a drive to left field leading off the eighth that was caught on the warning track by Austin Hays.
Means got a popout from Dylan Moore, struck out Haggerty swinging and got a soft liner from Crawford to end it, setting off a wild celebration with his teammates on the mound and a standing ovation from the Seattle crowd.
Baltimore’s previous no-hitter came on July 13, 1991, when Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for a 2-0 victory at Oakland,
On Aug. 13, 1969, Palmer threw the only no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 win over the Athletics. Palmer threw 142 pitches and had six walks along the way — three to Reggie Jackson — but completed the only no-no of his career.
It was the first time in Means career he had pitched beyond seven innings in a start.
Means had plenty of offensive support. D.J. Stewart and Ramón Urias both had RBI singles ofYusei Kikuchi in the third inning. Pat Valaika hit a solo home run off Kikuchi (1-2) in the sixth and Trey Mancini provided the big blow with a three-run shot off reliever Aaron Fletcher in the eighth inning.
It was the sixth homer of the season for Mancini.
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Mariners: RHP Keynan Middleton was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a biceps strain but the initial belief is it will be a short stint on the IL. Middleton left his relief appearance in the ninth inning on Tuesday night after just four pitches. Manager Scott Servais said it appears not to be a significant injury and Middleton should be back after 10 days.
Orioles: Following an off-day, Baltimore opens a four-game series at home against Boston on Friday. RHP Matt Harvey (3-1, 4.06) will start the opener.
Mariners: After an off-day, Seattle opens a five-game road trip on Friday at Texas. Due to injuries with the rotation, Seattle has not announced a starter.