August 15, 2021

Arizona's Tyler Gilbert Pitches No-Hitter In First MLB Start

Arizona's Tyler Gilbert pitched a no-hitter last night in his first career start, beating the Padres 7-0. It was also his first complete game at any professional level.

Gilbert, a 27-year-old lefty, made his major league debut 11 days ago, on August 3, after six years in the minors, and pitched in relief three times (3.2 innings) before his start against San Diego. The last pitcher to toss a no-hitter in his first career start was Bobo Holloman in 1953. (List of rookie no-hitters.)

Two pitchers in the 19th Century also threw no-hitters in their first starts: SLB Ted Breitenstein (St. Louis Browns (AA), October 4, 1891) and Bumpus Jones (Cincinnati Reds (NL), October 15, 1892.  That was before the mound was moved back from its then-distance of 50 feet from the plate. Fun Fact: Charles Comiskey managed both of those teams!

Here are the earliest no-hitters in a pitcher's career by games played (since 1901, AL/NL)

Pitcher         Game  Date               Team/Opponent         Score  Pitching Line
Wilson Alvarez     2  August 11, 1991    White Sox  Orioles      7-0  9-0-0-5-7, 128
Clay Buchholz      2  September 1, 2007  Red Sox vs Orioles     10-0  9-0-0-3-9, 115
Nick Maddox        3  September 20, 1907 Pirates vs Dodgers      2-1  9-0-1-3-5
Bo Belinsky        4  May 5, 1962        Angels vs Orioles       2-0  9-0-0-4-9
Burt Hooton        4  April 16, 1972     Cubs vs Phillies        4-0  9-0-0-7-7
Tyler Gilbert      4  August 14, 2021    Diamondbacks vs Padres  7-0  9-0-0-3-5, 102
Charlie Robertson  5  April 30, 1922     White Sox at Tigers     2-0  9-0-0-0-6
Bobo Holloman      5  May 6, 1953        Browns vs Athletics     6-0  9-0-0-5-3
Steve Busby       10  April 27, 1973     Royals at Tigers        3-0  9-0-0-6-4
Mike Warren       12  September 29, 1983 Athletics vs White Sox  3-0  9-0-0-3-5

It was the eighth no-hitter this season, a record for a single season, since 1901. There were seven no-hitters in 1990, 1991, 2012, and 2015. (There were also eight no-hitters during the 1884 season.)

Gilbert issued three walks and they were all to the same batter, Tommy Pham. He's the first pitcher to issue three (or more) walks in a no-hitter and have them all go to the same batter.

Before the game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo had decided Gilbert's pitch limit would be 85, but as the innings continued, Lovullo, the team's medical staff, and bullpen coach Mike Fetters changed that to 105, maybe 110. Gilbert began the eighth inning at 88 pitches, and caught a break as the Padres went down in order on only three pitches. He threw 11 pitches in the ninth and finished at 102.
It was weird. I wasn't nervous at all, and I felt like I should have been. I don't know why, but I kept just going out there and doing my thing. I was really nervous before the game leading up to the game, but after the three-pitch eighth inning, I was like, "OK, this is going to happen."
Arizona began the game 43 games under .500 (37-80), the worst mark ever by an National League team before throwing a no-hitter. In the American League, the Philadelphia Athletics were 25-91 (66 games under .500) in 1916 when Joe Bush no-hit Cleveland.

The 29-win difference between San Diego and Arizona was the fifth-largest difference between the team that was no-hit and the team to throw the no-hitter since 1900, according to Elias.

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