Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez throws 1st no-hitter of MLB season
Pitcher battles through sore ankle to achieve feat
Edinson Volquez's day was nearly over after three pitches. And he strongly considered leaving the game after five innings because of sharp ankle pain.
A couple hours later, nothing was hurting.
He stuck around — and pitched the game of his life.
Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history, facing the minimum 27 batters on Saturday and beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0. Volquez (2-7) struck out 10, and the two baserunners who reached on walks were erased by double plays.
He needed 98 pitches, the last of those striking out Chris Owings to complete the masterpiece.
"When I passed the seventh, I said, `I'm going to go for it,"' Volquez said. "And I got it."
It's the first no-hitter in the majors this season, and the first time Arizona was no-hit since the Marlins' Anibal Sanchez threw one on Sept. 6, 2006.
Volquez was nearly knocked out of the game after just one batter, when he collided with Diamondbacks leadoff man Rey Fuentes as he covered first, rolled his ankle and took a hard fall to the turf.
"I thought I broke my ankle," he kidded after the game.
Alas, that was the only hit the Diamondbacks got. Luckily for Volquez, body blows don't show up in the scorebook.
'A lot of things lined up'
The 33-year-old righty was one of the pitchers the Marlins brought in this past offseason in part to fill the void caused by the death of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash last September — and who was on Volquez's mind as Saturday's game went along.
His first season in Miami started about as badly as possible; the Marlins lost eight of his first nine starts and Volquez dropped his first seven decisions. Tied for the major league lead in losses going into Saturday, he was nearly perfect.
"Just a lot of things lined up," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "And his stuff was really, really good."
Nick Ahmed — who broke up a no-hit bid by Milwaukee's Chase Anderson in the eighth inning one week earlier — led off the ninth for Arizona and struck out on four pitches. Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso came up, and after falling behind 2-0 lead in the count, Volquez stopped for a moment, composed himself with a deep breath, and eventually got the strikeout on a 2-2 fastball.
That left it up to Owings, another pinch-hitter.
And then came a swing and a miss for strike three, one that got away from catcher J.T. Realmuto for a brief moment before he fired to Justin Bour at first to seal the no-hitter as the Marlins swarmed the field in celebration.
Journeyman pitcher won World Series with Royals
It was the Marlins' first no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez pitched one against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 regular season.
Volquez threw a one-hitter for San Diego against Houston on July 19, 2012 — the only blemish that night coming on a fourth-inning infield single by the Astros' Matt Downs.
That was one of his rare flirtations with this kind of history. Another came in 2014, when he had a no-no bid for Pittsburgh snapped on a leadoff single in the seventh by Cincinnati's Devin Mesoraco.
Other than that, this was uncharted waters.
Volquez is the epitome of a baseball journeyman. The Marlins are his seventh franchise in his 13 big league seasons, and the native of the Dominican Republic came into Saturday with just a 90-86 career record.
He was an All-Star in 2008, when he went 17-6 with Cincinnati and was basically the lone bright spot for the Reds in what was a dismal season.
In 2015, Volquez helped Kansas City win the World Series crown. He started Game 1 on the same day his father died.
"This is one of those days, you didn't know what was going to happen," Volquez said. "And today I had a no hitter."