BY SPNW Staff 10:22PM 06/08/2012

Millwood, five relievers no-hit Dodgers!

A pulled groin muscle caused Kevin Millwood to leave the game after six innings, but the bullpen preserved the no-no in a 1-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

One of the great moments in Mariners annals Friday night at Safeco was one of the freakiest in MLB history — six pitchers combined to no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the game’s best record.

The tense 1-0 triumph, the third no-hitter in club history,  was secured with a 1-2-3 ninth inning by Tom Wilhelmsen, who finished what Kevin Millwood began with six innings in which he allowed a single baserunner. The combined no-hitter was the 10th in MLB history.

Wilhelmsen began the ninth by inducing an infield chopper to Brendan Ryan, who came in as a defensive replacement. His throw to first barely beat Dodgers speedsters Dee Gordon, a play so close Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to protest.

Elian Herrera lined out to short for the second out, bringing up the Dodgers’ best hitter, Andre Ethier. He grounded out routinely to second, beginning  the celebration for 22,028 lucky eyewitnesses.

Millwood felt pain after one warmup pitch in the seventh. He started his motion for a second, stopped, then called out trainer Rick Griffin. After a few moments of conversation, he walked off the mound, expressionless, and into the clubhouse. He was later diagnosed with a mild pulled right groin muscle.

In 68 pitches, Millwood had six strikeouts and only one walk, which was erased on a double play, so he faced the minimum 18 batters to that point.

Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge and Brandon League followed Millwood to the mound.

Furbush retired Gordon to start the seventh, but had a two-base throwing error on Herrera’s grounder, giving the Dodgers their first scoring chance. Furbush struck out Ethier, and Wedge went to the hard-throwing Pryor to face Rivera, who went down on strikes.

Pryor started the eighth by walking Bobby Abreu and Jerry Hairston Jr. on nine pitches.  Luetge got the first out on James Loney’s sacrifice bunt.That brought up A.J. Ellis in came League, the recently demoted closer. Ellis 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 Tomny Gwynn Jr.  to end the inning.

The Mariners scored in the seventh when, after two outs, Ichiro beat out an infield single. He stole second, and Dustin Ackley walked. Kyle Seager sent a soft liner over shortstop to score easily the game’s only run.

The six-pitcher no-hitter was only the second in MLB history, following the same feat in 2003 by the Houston Astros 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 — the same injury that sidelined Millwood. It was the fourth no-hitter of the season in baseball and second at Safeco, following the perfect game by Phil Humber of the Chicago White Sox in April.

Quality defensive plays were frequent behind the fleet of pitchers, and Jesus Montero, the rookie catcher whose defensive skills have been questioned, managed the game well. As with everyone, he was surprised Millwood took himself out of the game.

It was unbelievable,” he said of Millwood’s departure. “I was like, ‘Why is he leaving now? He’s doing so good.”

But the bullpen picked him up.

“Pitchers weren’t missing many spots, all on the corners,” Montero said. “League was great. His split was working. He was amazing on the mound.”

Like most of the rest of the young Mariners, Montero didn’t quite know how to act.

“It’s my first no-hitter — I don’t want to leave the clubhouse,” he said. “We want to celebrate.”

The no-hitter was the club’s third, following Randy Johnson in 1990 and Chris Bosio in 1993.


YourThoughts

  • Joe Fan

    Way to go M’s!!

    • Artthiel

       And against the Dodgers, who just swept the Phillies. Nice to see another team get screwed by cross country travel.

      • Joe Fan

        I think we need to move the fences in Art so these poor visiting teams can hit better!

        • Artthiel

           How about just beyond the infield dirt. Fun for everyone, even Chone Figgins!

  • Joe Fan

    Way to go M’s!!

    • Artthiel

       And against the Dodgers, who just swept the Phillies. Nice to see another team get screwed by cross country travel.

      • Joe Fan

        I think we need to move the fences in Art so these poor visiting teams can hit better!

        • Artthiel

           How about just beyond the infield dirt. Fun for everyone, even Chone Figgins!

  • jafabian

    A stock photo?  I say this because this photo has Millwood in his white home uniform and the M’s had their teal jerseys on.

    I was thinking at some point Millwood would give up a hit and when he went out I thought they’d have a shot at a combined no-hitter, especially with Kemp not playing for the Dodgers.

    And to think this club had a perfect game thrown against them not too long ago!  Whatta cofidence booster for them.  Especially for Montero when his skills behind the plate have been called into question.

    • Artthiel

       Being a no-hit perp as well as victim in the same season is freaky. You nailed the best hidden gem of the evening: Montero didn’t screw it up.

      And yes the photo was from earlier in the year. That’s while it says “file” in the credit line.

  • jafabian

    A stock photo?  I say this because this photo has Millwood in his white home uniform and the M’s had their teal jerseys on.

    I was thinking at some point Millwood would give up a hit and when he went out I thought they’d have a shot at a combined no-hitter, especially with Kemp not playing for the Dodgers.

    And to think this club had a perfect game thrown against them not too long ago!  Whatta cofidence booster for them.  Especially for Montero when his skills behind the plate have been called into question.

    • Artthiel

       Being a no-hit perp as well as victim in the same season is freaky. You nailed the best hidden gem of the evening: Montero didn’t screw it up.

      And yes the photo was from earlier in the year. That’s while it says “file” in the credit line.

  • RadioGuy

    Great to see a no-hitter (is this the most pitchers to ever combine for one in MLB?) and credit is due to Millwood for setting it up as well as the young bullpen coming through under pressure over the last three innings.  But let’s look at how that lone run was scored:

    Ichiro essentially manufactured the lone run of the game in the seventh by running out a two-out infield grounder and then stealing second before taking two bases on Seager’s dink to left, but that got buried in a short paragraph late in the story.  If Ichiro doesn’t do what he did, they might’ve played until curfew and carried the game over to this afternoon.  He’s not worth what they’re paying him now, but nobody else on the Seattle roster could’ve done what Ichiro did except MAYBE Saunders.

    If they move in the fences during the offseason, so be it.  I like watching home runs, too, as long as we’re the ones hitting them.  I love games where every pitch means something, too.  Last night we had a classic example of that in beating a franchise that won eight pennants and four World Series between 1963, all while playing home games in a ballpark built for pitchers and never having a HR champion in that timespan.  It’s not so much about the ballpark itself as it is building a team that can take advantage of the ballpark.

    • Artthiel

       Just as the Yankees have built three stadiums with a short right-field porch, then loaded their lineup with a century of left handed stick, you can make a team to fit your park. The problem is that when you build to suit pitching, you make happy at least one guy, and up to six as we saw last night, while depressing nine others. Safeco has gotten into these guys’ heads.because it’s so one-sided. The 2001 output was so anomalous that it’s skewing judgment over a much greater sample size. And it was in the steroid era.

      • Joe Fan

        I would argue that our right field (thought perhaps not the alley), is built for left handed hitting.

  • RadioGuy

    Great to see a no-hitter (is this the most pitchers to ever combine for one in MLB?) and credit is due to Millwood for setting it up as well as the young bullpen coming through under pressure over the last three innings.  But let’s look at how that lone run was scored:

    Ichiro essentially manufactured the lone run of the game in the seventh by running out a two-out infield grounder and then stealing second before taking two bases on Seager’s dink to left, but that got buried in a short paragraph late in the story.  If Ichiro doesn’t do what he did, they might’ve played until curfew and carried the game over to this afternoon.  He’s not worth what they’re paying him now, but nobody else on the Seattle roster could’ve done what Ichiro did except MAYBE Saunders.

    If they move in the fences during the offseason, so be it.  I like watching home runs, too, as long as we’re the ones hitting them.  I love games where every pitch means something, too.  Last night we had a classic example of that in beating a franchise that won eight pennants and four World Series between 1963, all while playing home games in a ballpark built for pitchers and never having a HR champion in that timespan.  It’s not so much about the ballpark itself as it is building a team that can take advantage of the ballpark.

    • Artthiel

       Just as the Yankees have built three stadiums with a short right-field porch, then loaded their lineup with a century of left handed stick, you can make a team to fit your park. The problem is that when you build to suit pitching, you make happy at least one guy, and up to six as we saw last night, while depressing nine others. Safeco has gotten into these guys’ heads.because it’s so one-sided. The 2001 output was so anomalous that it’s skewing judgment over a much greater sample size. And it was in the steroid era.

      • Joe Fan

        I would argue that our right field (thought perhaps not the alley), is built for left handed hitting.