Edwin Jackson joined an exclusive club with his exotic no-hitter in a 1-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Friday.
Jackson, who walked eight and hit a batter, became the fifth pitcher since 1920 to record a no-hitter while walking eight or more. California's Nolan Ryan (1974) and Pittsburgh's Dock Ellis (1970) walked eight in no-hitters against Minnesota and San Diego, respectively. Florida's A.J. Burnett (2001) walked nine against San Diego, and Cincinnati's Jim Maloney (1965) walked 10 in 10 innings in his no-no against the Cubs.
Jackson walked seven of the first 13 batters he faced, but he seemed to get stronger after working out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the third inning. Mark Reynolds made the pivotal play of that inning, diving to stop B.J. Upton's grounder to his left and throwing from his knees to force a runner at home for the second out.
Tony Abreu backhanded Jason Barlett's grounder over second base in the fourth, and Adam LaRoche took the throw on one hop, the Rays' best chance at a hit.
"It was definitely a great feeling, especially after those first few innings," said Jackson, 5-6 with a 4.63 ERA.
Jackson's season numbers are not striking, but his outing Friday mirrored his season -- gaining steam after a slow start. He is 4-1 with a 2.51 ERA in his last eight starts, six of them quality, while making general manager Josh Byrnes' three-team winter meetings deal for two-fifths of the starting rotation -- Jackson and Ian Kennedy -- look better by the day.
Esmerling Vasquez was up in the bullpen in the third inning, and RHP Sam Demel and RHP Juan Gutierrez were up in the seventh, but manager A.J. Hinch was not going to take Jackson out with the no-hitter intact. The two spoke after the seventh inning.
"If you want to skip me in the next start or give me an extra day, fine," Jackson said he told Hinch. "I told him I'm not coming out until I gave up a home run or a hit."
Jackson threw a career-high 149 pitches, the most in a no-hitter since
statistics on pitch counts became commonplace in the last 20 years. Randy Johnson has the second-highest total, when he threw 138 on June 2, 1990, while with Seattle. Neither Jackson nor manager A.J. Hinch made an issue of it.
"We stopped counting at 115," said Hinch.
Jackson's pitch total is the highest in the majors in more than five years, since Washington's Livan Hernandez threw 150 against Florida on June 3, 2005.
Jackson's no-hitter was the second in franchise history, coming six years and 38
days after Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against Atlanta on May 18, 2004, in Atlanta. Jackson and Johnson are connected in another way—Jackson beat Johnson in his major league debut, Sept. 9, 2003. Jackson, with the Dodgers, took the 4-1 victory while pitching on his 20th birthday.
DIAMONDBACKS 1, RAYS 0: Edwin Jackson threw the second no-hitter in D-Backs' history while giving up 10 base runners -- eight walks, a hit batsman, and an obvious infield error. Jackson walked seven of the first 13 batters he faced, including the first three in the third inning, but faced only two batters over the minimum after getting out of that unscathed. It was the third complete game of Jackson's career, the second shutout. 1B Adam LaRoche's homer in the second provided the scoring, his second homer and ninth RBI in four games.
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