OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Mike Fiers of the Oakland Athletics pitched his second career no-hitter, getting help from two spectacular defensive plays to shut down the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 Tuesday night.
Fiers followed 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. He walked two, struck out six and ended it 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 – the game started more than 1 Â½ hours later because of a light malfunction at the Coliseum. Fiers tipped his hat to the crowd and raised his arms in triumph as he walked off.
“I’m glad they got the lights working,” Fiers said.
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.
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 made 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 leaped at 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.
Manaea, fittingly, gave Fiers an ice bath on the field when this one ended.
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 – and clearly was aware of what was at stake in the later innings.
“I knew. I don’t like when guys are like they don’t know,” Fiers said.
Fiers issued his only two walks in the seventh, but also got Jesse Winker to hit into a double play. Fiers needed only nine pitches to get through the eighth and zipped through the ninth, retiring rookie Josh VanMeter on a popup, getting Votto on a routine grounder and striking out Suarez.
A’s catcher Josh Phegley neatly blocked the last pitch and tagged Suarez to make it official.
Fiers’ other no-hitter came on Aug. 21, 2015, in Houston, three weeks after being traded from Milwaukee to the Astros. He threw a career-high 134 pitches in that game.
A’s manager Bob Melvin was tracking Fiers’ pitch count this time.
“I had to tell Bob I’m good. He was talking to me, looking out for my health,” Fiers said.
The only other Reds batter to reach was Winker, who got aboard on an error by Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman in the fourth. Chapman was near second base on a defensive shift and the grounder hit off his glove and rolled away.
The game started after a 98-minute delay because of a lighting problem at the Coliseum. A bank of lights above the upper deck in left field had been only partially lit, causing the delay. Those lights began to flicker on as the game started.
Fiers, however, turned them out on the Reds.
It was the second straight day the Reds have had a game delayed at the start because of unusual circumstances. Their game against the San Francisco Giants on Monday in Cincinnati was briefly halted due to a swarm of bees.
The A’s scored in the second against Tyler Mahle (1-6) when Stephen Piscotty raced home on Profar’s double into the right field corner. Profar added a solo homer in the seventh.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood will not throw for two weeks after getting a second opinion on his back injury.
Athletics: 1B Matt Olson went 0 for 3 in his first game back since undergoing surgery on his right hand. . DH Khris Davis was a late scratch because of a left hip contusion. The slugger bruised his hip when he ran into the railing near left field at Pittsburgh on Sunday. . Manaea threw all fastballs during a 20-pitch bullpen session, his first since shoulder surgery last September.
RHP Sonny Gray (0-4, 3.89 ERA) starts for the Reds on Wednesday in his first appearance at the Coliseum for the first time since 2017. The former A’s ace won 44 games during 4 Â½ seasons in the majors with Oakland before being traded to the New York Yankees. Gray allowed five runs in five innings in his only appearance against the A’s on May 11, 2018. Oakland counters with LHP Brett Anderson (4-2, 3.89).
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