This was a real gem that snuck up on me. I knew he was doing good in the early going, but James Paxton obviously wasn’t as overwhelming as he was in his previous start, when he struck out 16 batters in 7 innings. The three walks in the first four innings masked the fact that he’d been no-hitting them the whole time, and I don’t think it dawned on me until maybe after the 5th? Either the announcer alluded to something, or someone on Twitter whispered something, and then I went on ESPN and sure enough, a big ol’ (Canadian) goose egg in the hit column!
From then on, it was all about sitting there, doing the same thing I’d been doing the whole game, not mentioning what was going on to my dad, while smirking at all the people on Twitter with flagrant disregard for the unwritten rules of baseball. I love it, I subscribe to flouting them whenever they come up, but at the same time I still very much believe in my power to jinx something thousands of miles away, so if Paxton were to lose his no-hitter, it wasn’t going to be MY fault!
(I’ll also say this, when a couple guys on Twitter who’d been suspiciously quiet all night *COUGH Softy and Mitch COUGH* suddenly chimed in with pre-bottom-of-the-ninth-inning Tweets, I thought I’d lose it)
And boy did he almost lose that no-no a few times last night! Dee Gordon with the diving catch in center in the first, that crazy falling-down foul ball catch by Ryon Healy (who knows what the batter would’ve done if the at-bat was extended?), the pick of the throw in the dirt from Segura to Healy, that unbelievably amazing diving stop & throw by Seager on what could’ve easily been a double and what SHOULD’VE been an infield single, that scary deep fly to Gamel when the outfield had been playing in, that other tough catch of a liner into center by Gordon, and, of course, my heart stopped for a beat on the final at-bat with that hard grounder to Seager. I thought – FOR SURE – 2 outs, 2 strikes, that ball was going to find a hole to break all our hearts.
I mean, you just can’t say enough about that defense. When people talk about how ERA is a bullshit stat, a lot of people point to the fact that errors tend to make a pitcher look better, but just as much – if not moreso – it’s the other way around with an amazing defense lifting up the guy on the mound. You tend to always see at least one or two amazing plays in any no-hitter situation, but all night long those Mariners out there carried the mail. That’s as much of a Team No-Hitter as the 6-pitcher one a few years back.
Still, all that being said, James Paxton is the man. That was a helluva show! We all knew he had it in him and it would come out eventually. I’m just glad I was there to watch the whole thing from start to finish.
Offensively, it was more of the same. These guys, for the most part, put constant pressure on opposing teams. You can hold the M’s down for a while, but eventually we’re going to lean on you, and more often than not break through. We manufactured 2 runs in the third with the top of our lineup, Zunino hit a jack to right field for 2 more runs in the fourth, and Haniger chimed in with a sac fly to score Cano. Dee Gordon had 3 hits and a stolen base; Cano, Cruz, and Healy each had 2 hits apiece; and Seager and Gamel got in on the action with singles.
This is an important series. The Blue Jays are one of the three teams in the A.L. East vying for a playoff spot. We need to do everything in our power to stay comfortably ahead of them, as we already have our hands full with the fucking Angels. Getting this win is a great start to the series and the road trip.
Getting the no-hitter is the most perfect icing on that cake.