History was made at Safeco Field on Friday night as the Seattle Mariners used six — yes, six — pitchers to defeat the Dodgers 1-0 and complete only the tenth combined no-hitter in the annals of Major League Baseball.
The unconventional six-man effort was necessitated by the early exit of starter Kevin Millwood, who allowed only one walk over his six innings of work, after he tweaked his groin warming up for the seventh. Relievers Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen all worked together to finish what Millwood started, and secured a nice place in baseball history for themselves in the process.
''Those guys got all the tough outs,'' Millwood said. ''First six, it is what it is. I've seen a lot of people do that. From seven, eight, nine - those guys got all those outs and that was special to see.''
As Millwood indicated, those last nine outs were all very much earned. In fact, after Pryor walked Bobby Abreu and Jerry Hairston Jr. to start the eighth, and James Loney sacrificed them into scoring position, the Dodgers were one hit away from not only ending the bid, but taking the lead as well. That's when Eric Wedge called on former closer Brandon League to shut down the rally, and shut it down he did by coaxing a weak flyball from A.J. Ellis and striking out Tony Gwynn Jr.
''Really, I had visions of winning that game without a hit,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ''First and second, I'm thinking wild pitch, sac fly. With League in the game, that split, you never know.''
While the Dodgers couldn't capitalize in the eighth, they came really close to starting the ninth off on the right foot thanks to the speedy Dee Gordon. Gordon led off the inning with a slow bouncer to defensive replacement Brendan Ryan — who ironically was involved in the controversial ending to Philip Humber's perfect game earlier this season — that the new shortstop charged, fielded cleanly and then made a strong throw across that resulted in a bang-bang play.
Slow motion replays indicated the ball and Gordon arrived at the exact same moment. Umpire Ted Barrett didn't have that luxury, and promptly ruled in favor of history.
After that close call, new closer Tom Wilhelmsen emphatically closed the door on Los Angeles, getting likely all-star Andre Ethier to bounce out to second base to set off the celebration, and maybe for a short period of time help take the mind of Seattle sports fans off of the Oklahoma City Thunder making the NBA Finals.
Other interesting tidbits from Seattle's combined no-hitter:
• It's the third no-hitter in Seattle Mariners history. Randy Johnson threw the first on June 2, 1990 against Detroit. Chris Bosio followed with the other on April 22, 1993 against Boston.
• Stephen Pryor, who recorded only one out, was credited with the win after Kyle Seager drove in the game's only run with a seventh inning single. He becomes the third pitcher ever to earn his first big league win in a no-hitter.
• Jesus Montero caught all nine innings, becoming the youngest backstop to catch a no-hitter since Ted Simmons caught Bob Gibson's in 1971.
• Home plate umpire Brian Runge was also behind the dish for Philip Humber's perfect game at Safeco Field on April 21.