By JERRY BEACH, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Tylor Megill and the New York Mets bullpen threw and threw, the crowd getting louder with each throw.
Megill and four assists teamed up in the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season and combined to lead the Mets 3-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
“Just a really fun team moment,” said Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who homed. “This is one of my absolute highlights because how often do you see a no-hitter? It’s like seeing a white buffalo or a unicorn.”
Megill started and was drafted after five innings and 88 pitches. The bullpen took over from there, with Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz completing the second no-hitter in Mets history.
Johan Santana threw the Mets’ only previous no-hitter on June 1, 2012, when he hit eight and needed 134 pitches in an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This was the 9,588. The Mets game, including the postseason, since they became an expansion team in 1962.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, those 159 pitches were the most pitched in a no-hitter. Six Houston Astros pitchers threw 151 pitches in their no-hitter against the Yankees in 2003.
“Team play,” said Megill.
“I’m excited. It’s crazy. The first one I was involved with.”
All aides before Díaz said they were unaware they were working on a combined no-hitter. Rodríguez said he would seek treatment in the ninth inning when he realized what was going on.
“After the ninth inning, an out, I looked at the TV and said, ‘What? Zero?’” Rodriguez said as McCann exchanged a fist bump with Diaz on a podium in the Mets interview room. “I said, ‘Hey, give me five minutes, I have to get out.'”
While a crowd of 32,416 stood and chanted “Let’s go, Mets,” Díaz finished in style, beating Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos and JT Realmuto in ninth place – all with momentum.
“You start paying attention to the sixth, seventh inning — you start hearing the crowd getting into it and you realize there’s a chance for something special,” said catcher James McCann.
“Especially with several guys. If it’s with a guy, you’re on the same page all night. But in trying to be in tune with a lot of people, it’s definitely special to be able to share it with so many people,” he said.
Mets pitchers combined to form Fan 12 and Walk Six, including Kyle Schwarber three times. He stole second base in the fifth — the only time a Phillies player has progressed past first base.
“We hit a few balls hard, but that’s about it,” said Phillies manager Joe Girardi. “(Megill) threw about 45 pitches (actually 43) in the first two innings, it looked like we might be able to get him on the ropes. But we just never did it.”
Mets midfielder Brandon Nimmo made the best defensive play, running to make a dive catch on Jean Segura’s sinking liner at right center to end the third.
“I didn’t really notice (the no-hitter) until the sixth inning,” Nimmo said. “I looked back to check the count and the result and where I was supposed to play and I saw the zero next to their team. And I said, ‘Oh no, all right, we’ve got one going.’”
The Mets flocked to the field and harassed Díaz after the finals when a graphic showing the five pitchers with the words “BLACK OUT” appeared on the scoreboard.
It was the 17th combined no-hitter in history and the first since Corbin Burnes and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader teamed without a hit against Cleveland last September 11.
A year ago there was a record nine no-hitters in the majors.
Last weekend, six Tampa Bay Rays pitchers combined to carry a no-hit bid into the 10th inning of a scoreless game against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox broke up the no-hitter and scored two goals at the top of 10th, but the Rays came back and won 3-2. Under MLB official rules, it didn’t count as a no-hitter because Ray’s pitcher didn’t finish the game and didn’t allow any hits.
This was the first no-hitter against the Phillies since Josh Beckett fielded one for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014.
Megill (4-0) batted five and walked three in his 23rd major league start.
“[Megill]threw almost 90 pitches in five innings, which was a lot,” said Mets skipper Buck Showalter, who had his first no-hitter since Jim Abbott’s jewel for the New York Yankees against Cleveland in 1993. “What a job the rest of the guys did even against a really good batting line-up. It’s fun to watch.”
Smith hit four outs, Rodriguez three, and Lugo recorded the last two outs in the eighth before Díaz took over for his fourth save.
Jeff McNeil hit a two-run single in the fifth ahead of Aaron Nola (1-3). Pete Alonso hit a homer on the sixth homer with two outs.
Showalter said he and Mets players had a good give-and-take during their Friday meeting with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Morgan Sword and former Big League pitcher Dan Otero.
The meeting was scheduled for last week but was postponed when Showalter underwent a medical procedure on April 20. The two sides came together two days after the Mets – whose players stepped in Friday after being hit by pitches 19 times, the most in the majors – and St. Louis Cardinals engaged in a skirmish for the benches after Yoan Lopez of New York vomited, and Nolan Arenado missed a half-inning after JD Davis was hit in the ankle by a Genesis Cabrera bid.
“We had our pitchers and some position players there — we have all aspects of that,” Showalter said. “Morgan presented some things that (players) may not have known about and (players) presented some things. This is how you make good decisions: you listen to the people who actually throw and bat the baseball, and you listen to the people who do all the work to improve our game.”
Mets: Davis (left ankle) was available from the bench. “So far, so good,” Showalter said. “No further imaging was required. It has improved.”
Phillies: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-1, 3.47 ERA) is looking to win his second straight start after earning Monday’s win over the Colorado Rockies.
Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 0.00 ERA) expected to be activated from injured list. He was put on hold with bursitis in his right shoulder on April 12, a day after he threw two perfect innings against the Phillies on his season debut.
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