He was hitting corners. He was getting four pitches over consistently for strikes. He was throwing a remarkable percentage of first-pitch strikes. And he was dominating.
But would John Means make history this afternoon or just post another dominant start and lead the Orioles to another win?
It was the first part.
Today the lefty produced the sixth no-hitter in Baltimore Orioles history and the first since 1991. It was the first solo no-hitter by an O’s pitcher since 1969.
Throwing first-pitch strikes to 26 of 27 batters, a remarkable feat in itself, Means no-hit the Seattle Mariners in a 6-0 Orioles win to end this series and road trip.
Means entered the ninth with the no-hitter intact and had thrown 101 pitches. He got Dylan Moore to foul out on a 2-2 pitch, fanned Sam Haggerty on a 2-2 changeup for the second out, and then J.P. Crawford lined out on the first pitch and the no-hitter was complete.
Means missed out on throwing the first perfect game in Orioles history when left fielder Haggerty struck out, but reached on what was scored a wild pitch with one out in the third inning. He was later caught stealing. Because the batter reached base, Means does not get credit for a perfect game although he faced the minimum 27 batters today.
It was an incredible pitching performance as Means improved to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.37 with this 113-pitch gem.
He fanned two in the first on 12 pitches.
He fanned one in the second and needed 15 pitches.
He fanned one in the third using 11 pitches.
He rolled through the fourth and the top of the order on nine pitches.
He did it again in the fifth with one strikeout on 11 pitches
He recorded another 1-2-3 in the sixth on nine pitches.
He fanned two more in a 1-2-3 seventh on 18 pitches.
He got strikeouts No. 10 and 11 in a 16-pitch eighth.
He fanned one in the ninth to complete the no-no.
The other previous Orioles’ no-hitters:
* Hoyt Wilhelm versus New York Yankees on Sept, 20, 1958.
* Steve Barber and Stu Miller versus Detroit on April 30, 1967 (Orioles lost 2-1).
* Tom Phoebus against Boston on April 27, 1968.
* Jim Palmer versus Oakland on Aug. 13, 1969.
* Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson at Oakland July 13, 1991.
Means set career highs for innings pitched and with the 113 pitches. His 12 strikeouts tied his career best.
The Orioles completed a 4-2 road trip and head home at 15-16. They have won five of seven, seven of 11 and 10 of their last 18. They are off Thursday and host first-place Boston Friday night at Camden Yards.
JOHN-- Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) May 5, 2021