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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Mike Fiers, center, celebrates with his Athletics teammates after tossing a no-hitter against the Reds on Tuesday in Oakland, Calif.

Thursday, May 09, 2019 1:00 am

Fiers baffles Reds for 2nd career no-hitter

JOSH DUBOW | Associated Press

Multiple no-hitters

Seven: Nolan Ryan

Four: Sandy Koufax

Three: Larry Corcoran, Bob Feller, Cy Young

Two: Jake Arrieta, Al Atkinson, Homer Bailey, Ted Breitenstein, Mark Buehrle, Jim Bunning, Steve Busby, Carl Erskine, Mike Fiers, Bob Forsch, Pud Galvin, Roy Halladay, Ken Holtzman, Randy Johnson, Addie Joss, Dutch Leonard, Tim Lincecum, Jim Maloney, Christy Mathewson, Hideo Nomo, Allie Reynolds, Frank Smith, Max Scherzer, Warren Spahn, Bill Stoneman, Adonis Terry, Virgil Trucks, Johnny Vander Meer, Justin Verlander, Don Wilson

OAKLAND, Calif. – A light malfunction almost stopped Mike Fiers' night from getting started. A high pitch count nearly prevented him from finishing it.

Good thing Fiers was allowed to take the mound and stay there because he made history doing it.

Fiers overcame the early delay and managed the high workload to pitch the second no-hitter of his career, getting help from two spectacular defensive plays from his Oakland Athletics teammates to shut down the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 late Tuesday night.

“Amazing. That's really all I can really say,” Fiers said. “Things like this just happen.”

This one almost didn't.

A bank of lights in left field was only partially lit before the scheduled start of the game, leading to a delay of more than 90 minutes before the teams and umpires determined there was enough light to play a full game.

Then after getting through seven innings with 109 pitches, Fiers was told by manager Bob Melvin that one more baserunner would end his night even if he still hadn't allowed a hit. He then breezed through the final two innings, following up his 2015 gem for Houston against the Dodgers with a 131-pitch masterpiece to become the 35th pitcher with multiple no-hitters in his career.

“I'm just really thankful for him leaving me in and trusting me,” Fiers said. “I told him I felt great. I felt like everything was working. It wasn't a matter of being tired. I had adrenaline at that point.”

He walked two, struck out six and ended the 300th no-hitter in the majors by fanning Eugenio Suarez with a big curveball.

The A's poured out of the dugout to mob Fiers in celebration after the final out in front of a few thousand fans remaining after the lengthy delay. Fiers tipped his hat to the crowd and raised his arms in triumph as he walked off.

“It was a great night obviously for him, for our fans, everyone wants to see a no-hitter,” Melvin said. “It was no fun for me once he got past 120 pitches, I promise you that. But he deserved it.

The 33-year-old Fiers (3-3) raised his lifetime record to 57-58. The right-hander began the night with a 6.81 ERA this season, and has been a journeyman for much of his career.

A journeyman with a special place in the record book, that is.

“It's pretty cool,” Fiers said. “I saw a little bit of the list. I'm just grateful to be here and get the opportunity to play. I remember when I was getting drafted I wasn't too high on the charts. I was a guy throwing 88 to 90 (mph) down in South Florida. I'm one in a million down there. ... I'm just blessed to be here.”

The first no-hitter of the 2019 season didn't come without tense moments as Fiers was bailed out by back-to-back great defensive plays in the sixth inning. Second baseman Jurickson Profar ran a long way to making a diving catch on Kyle Farmer's popup into short right field for the second out, prompting Fiers to throw up his arms in celebration.

Joey Votto followed that with a deep drive, but flashy center fielder Ramon Laureano reached above the fence to pull the ball back and rob the Reds star of a home run.

“Ramon's catch he's done that once or twice. That's a normal play for him,” Fiers said. “Profar, another amazing play.”

This was the 13th no-hitter in the history of the Athletics franchise, which started in Philadelphia, moved to Kansas City and shifted to Oakland. Sean Manaea pitched the previous no-hitter for the A's on April 21, 2018, at home against Boston.

The Reds were no-hit for the 10th time, most recently by Jake Arrieta of the Cubs in 2016.

Fiers became the seventh pitcher to throw no-hitters for multiple teams – Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson and Cy Young are among the others..