Mets throw second no-hitter in club history as five pitchers combine to blank Phillies
The Phillies bat sat on their shoulders. Or made weak contact. They swung idly into the whipping wind, or were sometimes slammed in frustration.
What they did not do, no matter who was on the mound Friday, was record a hit. Not that most of the Mets pitchers inflicting this futility truly noticed.
Oh sure, Tylor Megill knew that he pitched five innings of no-hit ball, but he wasn’t fully aware of what was happening until far later in the game. Drew Smith was again untouchable, but was slightly mystified at the loud ovation he got when he departed in the seventh. Joely Rodriguez and Seth Lugo hadn’t pitched in four days, so they shrugged their shoulders and got to work.
But Edwin Diaz knew.
He came into the ninth and stared down the fearsome trio of Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos and JT Realmuto and made it look easy, throwing sliders when they expected fastballs, and fastballs when they expected sliders, setting all three down with the pomp and gusto befitting a historic feat, a combined no-hitter. All three struck out swinging to secure the 3-0 win, and by the time Diaz and James McCann pumped their fists and embraced, the dugout had emptied, Citi Field went wild, and it felt like there wasn’t a soul in Flushing who didn’t realize what was going on.
“You start hearing the crowd getting into it and realizing there’s a chance for something special,” said McCann, who had full knowledge of what was at stake by the sixth, but said nothing. “I think the most impressive part about our team is that, if it’s not one guy that’s going to get you, it’s another guy … That’s kind of been the identity of our team this early in the year.”
It’s the second no-hitter in Mets history — the first being Johan Santana’s 134-pitch war of attrition in 2012 — and the first no-hitter in baseball this season. It’s just the 17th combined no-hitter in MLB history. The five pitchers, who issued six walks, combined to throw 159 pitches; all but four no-hitters in history have recorded pitch counts, and of those that are known, this is the most. It was helped along by some sterling defense, most notably by Brandon Nimmo, who made a sliding catch in the third to save a hit, as well as a few other strong defensive plays in center.
The Mets were coy about their clubhouse celebration. There was a lot of music, a lot of giddiness, said Pete Alonso, who hit a solo homer in the sixth to give the Mets the final margin.
“It was a really good time,” Jeff McNeil said, grinning widely; his two-run single in the fifth opened the scoring.
“This was one of my all-time highlights,” Alonso said. “It’s like, how often do you see a no-hitter? It’s like seeing a white buffalo or a unicorn.”
And they didn’t exactly do it against weak competition, either, as the Phillies entered the game with the fourth-best OPS in baseball, at .738.
Megill (4-0, 1.93 ERA), already having a revelation of a sophomore season, struck out five and walked three through his five innings, but the 88 pitches he threw meant completing the no-hitter on his own would have been impossible.
He fully dominated through four, allowing just one walk in the second before his command wavered in the fifth to get him into a touch of trouble. After striking out the leadoff batter, he walked Kyle Schwarber, who stole second to give the Phillies their first runner in scoring position. Alec Bohm struck out swinging, Didi Gregorius walked, but Megill cracked down, throwing progressively harder fastballs of 94.3, 94.8 and 96.4 mph to get Odubel Herrera swinging.
Megill departed for Smith, who struck out four and has yet to allow a run in 9 1/3 innings.
Rodriguez pitched an inning with two walks, Lugo, a clean two-thirds of an inning, and Diaz finished it off with trumpets and flair. When Megill realized what was happening—which dawned on him when Diaz came in—he told Smith to quietly make his way back with him to the dugout.
“You never know what this game has in store for you,” Buck Showalter said by way of summary.
Sometimes, not even when it’s happening right before your eyes.