SEATTLE – Kevin Millwood and five relievers combined on the third no-hitter in Seattle Mariners history, a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
The no-hitter was the fourth in the majors this season, joining gems pitched by the Angels’ Jered Weaver, the Mets’ Johan Santana and White Sox right-hander Philip Humber, who threw a perfect game at Seattle in April.
But this one was the least conventional, tying the record for most pitchers in a no-hitter.
“That was unbelievable. I’ve never been a part of anything like that with that many guys coming in and keeping the no-hitter intact,” said Kyle Seager, who drove in Ichiro Suzuki with a two-out single in the seventh.
Millwood cruised through six innings, giving up only a walk. But after throwing his first warmup pitch for the seventh he felt a twinge in his groin and was pulled. Seattle’s bullpen finished the no-hitter when Tom Wilhelmsen retired Andre Ethier on a routine grounder to second base that ended a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Dodgers nearly got a hit when speedy Dee Gordon led off the ninth with a slow roller to shortstop. Brendan Ryan, who had just entered as a defensive replacement, charged in and fired to first, where umpire Ted Barrett called Gordon out on a bang-bang play.
Gordon and manager Don Mattingly argued. Replays were inconclusive.
Elian Herrera then lined out to Ryan before Ethier’s ground out ended the first no-hitter for the Mariners since Chris Bosio against Boston on April 22, 1993. Seattle’s first no-hitter was thrown by Randy Johnson against Detroit on June 2, 1990.
It was the 10th combined no-hitter in big league history and the first since six Astros accomplished the feat at Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2003. Roy Oswalt started that game for Houston but left two pitches into the second inning with a strained right groin.
“This was a lot better than having it against you, that’s for sure,” said Seager, whose brother Corey was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of Monday’s amateur draft.
After the final out, catcher Jesus Montero ran around with his arms in the air and jumped into Wilhelmsen’s arms for a somewhat-awkward celebration.
Millwood came out to warm up before the seventh when the game took an odd turn. He threw one warmup pitch and stopped himself from throwing a second as he felt something wrong. Millwood was visited by manager Eric Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin and left the game, replaced by Charlie Furbush.
It was later announced that Millwood had a mild right groin strain.
Furbush retired Gordon to start the seventh, but committed a two-base throwing error on Herrera’s grounder, giving the Dodgers their first scoring chance. Furbush struck out Ethier, and Wedge went to hard-throwing rookie Stephen Pryor to face Juan Rivera.
Rivera went down on strikes but Pryor started the eighth by walking Bobby Abreu and Jerry Hairston Jr. on nine pitches. Lucas Luetge was next in line and got the first out of the inning on James Loney’s sacrifice bunt.
That brought up A.J. Ellis and Seattle turned to one-time closer Brandon League, recently demoted from that role. League got Ellis to hit a sinking liner to left and defensive replacement Chone Figgins made a running catch. His strong throw home kept pinch-runner Alex Castellanos at third base.
League then struck out Tony Gwynn Jr. to end the inning.
The previous no-hitter against the Dodgers was thrown by Atlanta’s Kent Mercker on April 8, 1994. Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined to hold the Dodgers hitless for eight innings in a 1-0 Dodgers win in 2008, but that game doesn’t count as a no-hitter under the rules baseball adopted in 1991.
Seattle’s run came in the seventh inning thanks to a two-out rally started by Ichiro’s infield single. He stole second, Dustin Ackley walked and Seager came through with his 23rd two-out RBI of the season. His single off Scott Elbert glanced off the glove of a leaping Gordon and dropped in left field.
Hernandez pushed back
Seattle ace Felix Hernandez has been pushed back and will start Tuesday against San Diego. Hernandez has been bothered by a sore back.