After Hisashi Iwakuma threw the final pitch of his no-hitter on Wednesday, the whirlwind began.
“I feel mentally and physically strong”, Iwakuma said.
No, not Iwakuma becoming just the second Japanese pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Major League Baseball – as important an accomplishment as that was – joining Hideo Nomo in exclusive company when he shut down the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Incredibly, this was the first complete game Iwakuma has thrown on this side of the Pacific Ocean; he accomplished the feat 48 times over 11 seasons in Japan. Iwakuma only threw 40.5% of his pitches in the strike zone, a career low but it was working for him.
Iwakuma struck out seven and walked three in the fourth no-hitter this season and first by an American League pitcher in almost three years.
The last AL pitcher to keep zeros across the board was teammate Felix Hernandez, who tossed a ideal game August 15, 2012, at Safeco Field.
Iwakuma took the mound for the ninth to a standing ovation from the home crowd taking in the rare weekday matinee. Hernandez was wearing a fuzzy bear hat that was handed out as a promotion earlier in the season to honor Iwakuma. I’ve had to pee since the fifth inning, ” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon joked.
And yes, I understand that there is a lot of baseball yet to be played – 49 games in fact. Because of that, it wasn’t something I thought about. It is an incredible accomplishment to throw a no-hitter and in baseball’s 139 year history only an average of two no-hitters are thrown in a year. On a foul ball by left fielder David Lough, Seager made an over-the-head catch with his back to the ball up near the wall behind third base.
“He was phenomenal”, Seager said. “You’re going to do whatever you can”.
Today’s no-hitter marks the fifteenth time that the Orioles have been no-hit in their team history, good for fourth most all-time.
Iwakuma also walked Jonathan Schoop on a check-swing, full-count pitch to open the eighth inning. Next he’s going to get Caleb Joseph to ground into an inning ending double play. He said he prefers to remain with the Mariners but offered a “no comment” when asked whether talks are under way. “But tip your cap”.
“I’m just glad it’s over”.
After a weak showing last week where they got in six hits, the Mariners need to step it up. It was RBI number 51 for Robinson Cano and the Mariners were out to a 2-0 lead. He came close earlier this month against Minnesota, throwing 8 2-3 innings before being lifted in a game that went to extra innings. Wieters, who had to leave Tuesday’s game in the third inning, told the Baltimore Sun before the game that he was feeling better and hoped to be available this weekend at Oakland…
The day game and an off day Thursday made for an easy decision, and the Mariners expect to have Cruz back for Friday’s opener of the Boston series.