EditorsNote: Cleans up body, changes headline
Left-hander James Paxton became the second Canadian to pitch a no-hitter, the first to do so in his native land, leading the visiting Seattle Mariners to a 5-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
It was the sixth no-hitter pitched by a Mariner in the franchise’s history that started in 1977, the same season the Blue Jays began. Seattle’s first five no-hitters all came at home.
Paxton, who was born in Ladner, British Columbia, joins a Canadian no-hit club that previously included only Toronto native Dick Fowler, who threw his gem for the Philadelphia A’s in 1945.
Paxton said of accomplishing the feat in Canada, “It’s very special. Of all the places — to do it in Toronto, that’s pretty amazing. The fans were great, they were giving me some trouble in like the seventh inning. ...
“Once I got past that, they started kind of cheering me on. It was cool.”
The no-hitter was the third this year. The Athletics’ Sean Manaea shut down the Boston Red Sox on April 21 in Oakland, and four Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers no-hit the San Diego Padres on Friday in Monterrey, Mexico.
It was the fifth no-hitter thrown against the Blue Jays, and the third at the Rogers Centre.
Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer for the Mariners.
Paxton was coming off a seven-inning outing last Wednesday in which he struck out a career-best 16 against the Athletics but did not factor in the decision in Seattle’s 3-2 loss.
Paxton (2-1) struck out seven on Tuesday. He allowed the Blue Jays two walks in the third inning and another walk in the fourth.
The 29-year-old was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fourth round in 2009 but did not sign. He was then drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 2010.
Toronto starter Marcus Stroman (0-5) allowed five runs, nine hits and two walks while striking out two in five innings.
The Mariners scored twice in the third inning. Ben Gamel led off with a walk, took third on Dee Gordon’s double and scored on Robinson Cano’s groundout to first. Nelson Cruz followed with an RBI single.
Seattle took a 4-0 lead in the fourth when Zunino’s fifth homer of the season followed Ryon Healy’s single.
The lead grew to 5-0 in the fifth on singles by Cano, Cruz and Kyle Seager and a sacrifice fly by Mitch Haniger.
Paxton, meanwhile, was breezing. Toronto’s Kevin Pillar came close to ending the no-hitter with two outs in the seventh on a smash down the third base line. However, Seager made a diving stop and got the out at first.
The Blue Jays began making better contact in the eighth, with Gamel gathering in Russell Martin’s fly to the wall in left and Gordon snagging a sinking liner to center by Kendrys Morales.
“What a defense tonight, that was amazing,” Paxton said. “Those guys were making every play. I made some good pitches, got lucky a bunch of times. It was our night.”
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. struck out to end the eighth.
Toronto’s Anthony Alford fouled out to right for the first out of the ninth inning, and Teoscar Hernandez struck out. Paxton got two strikes on Josh Donaldson on pitches that were clocked at 98 and 99 mph. Donaldson grounded out sharply to third to complete the no-hitter.
Paxton realized he was working on history around the sixth inning.
“And then I just was focused on making my pitches, getting ahead of guys,” he said. “Getting into two-strike counts, trying to put them away. Staying over the plate — the guys were hitting balls right at people. It was one of those nights, too — the balls that were hit hard went right to people. Then we had the defense making amazing plays, like Kyle’s last play.”
—Field Level Media