August 3, 2017 Arizona League Indians Ever since we started we started running recaps of minor league games in the past, there has been no date I’ve been waiting for […]
August 3, 2017 Arizona League Indians
Ever since we started we started running recaps of minor league games in the past, there has been no date I’ve been waiting for more than August 3rd, 2017. That’s because I was there (the reason for so many pictures) and it remains the only no-hitter I’ve ever seen in person. This game featured a few players who were big name prospects at the time, but have since fallen off, and a few others who have risen significantly since 2017.
This game started with two of the former as Dylan Baker and Dace Kime each got single rehab innings to start the game. Baker struck out the first batter in a perfect first before being removed due to pitch count, then Kime struck out the second batter he faced in the second before leaving the game for the same reason. The AZL Indians fared similarly in the bottom of the first and wasted two two out hits in the bottom of the second to keep things scoreless.
Had it not been for the rehab appearances, Tahnaj Thomas (since traded to Pittsburgh in the Jordan Luplow deal) would have made the start and he came in to begin the third. He struck out his first batter, but lost the perfect game when he walked the second. After retiring another, he caught Connor Hoover of the AZL Mariners stealing to continue facing the minimum through three. The Indians attempted to score first in the bottom half of the inning as Jose Fermin doubled and was followed by a Tyler Freeman single and steal, but Miguel Jerez and Henry Pujols struck out to end the inning. In addition to the strength of the Indians pitchers, it should be noted that Mariners starter Clay Chandler went five shut out innings and struck out seven without a walk as part of a very solid rookie season.
Each team recorded two strike outs in a flawless fourth for each side, then Thomas recorded two more K’s in the fifth as neither team reached base again. Maiker Manzanillo replaced Thomas in the sixth and added another K in a perfect inning. Hoover was also removed heading into the bottom half and Freeman attempted to get things started as he singled to lead off the inning, but was stranded at third after Mitch Reeves reached on an error. Reliever Chris Castellanos ultimately struck out the side.
Manzanillo added two more K’s in another perfect inning in the seventh and Castellanos struck out the side again in the bottom half. Again, Fermin reached on a two out single and made it to third thanks to a steal and an error, but he was stranded as Tre Gantt struck out to end the inning.
Both relievers stayed in for the eighth, which was the most impressive inning overall in the entire game. Both pitchers struck out all three batters faced in the inning, although during the top half, Henry Pujols dropped a pop foul for an error. This didn’t kill the perfect game as Thomas already had walked a hitter and since Manny Pazos struck out anyway, the Indians had still faced the minimum.
Manzanillo stayed on for the ninth and struck out one more giving him four (nearly) perfect innings and six K’s. This pushed the game to the bottom of the ninth in a scoreless tie, the perfect set up for the ultimate win. Mitch Reeves singled to begin the inning, the Indians seventh hit of the game. Quentin Holmes bunted to move Reeves up a base where he stayed as Ronny Dominguez struck out. With two outs, a runner on second and the game on the line, catcher Angel Lopez (pictured covered in liquid at top) came through with the walk off single to left, bringing home Reeves with the game winning run.
In all, the Indians pitchers combined for nine hitless, scoreless innings with one walk and 13 strike outs. The Mariners managed 8.2 innings with eight hits, no walks and 17 strike outs.
That wasn’t the only no hitter in Indians MiLB history on August 3rd, however, as if we go into the way-way back machine we can find Robin Fuson and the 1978 Waterloo Indians taking out the Appleton Foxes 2-0. Future big leaguer Jerry Dybzinksi went 2-4 and scored a run.