Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes combined with reliever Josh Hader to pitch baseball’s record ninth no-hitter this season, breaking a mark set when pitchers began throwing overhand in 1884 as the Brewers beat Cleveland, 3-0, on Saturday night.
Burnes (10-4) struck out 14 with 115 pitches over eight innings, taking a perfect game into the seventh while overpowering Cleveland, which was no-hit for the third time in 2021. This time it was by Burnes — who has become a Cy Young contender as the Brewers run away with the NL Central — and Hader, one of the game’s top closers.
Cleveland is the first team to be no-hit three times in the same year — all of them with starter Zach Plesac (10-5) on the mound.
The right-handed Burnes was in control from the start, striking out 11 of his first 14 hitters and retiring the first 18 in order. After walking Myles Straw to start the seventh, the 26-year-old got through the eighth thanks to a diving catch by center fielder Lorenzo Cain on Owen Miller’s liner.
The Progressive Field crowd booed as Hader came on in the ninth. He overpowered Oscar Mercado, striking him out to start the inning. Then, first baseman Jace Peterson went into foul territory to making a lunging catch for the second out.
Hader ended the no-hitter by getting Straw to flail at a pitch in the dirt. The Brewers stormed the field to share hugs and high-fives with a signature victory in their runaway season; their magic number to clinch the Central fell to seven when St. Louis beat second-place Cincinnati, 6-4, later Saturday.
Juan Nieves pitched the Brewers’ previous no-hitter on April 15, 1987, at Baltimore.
Arizona rookie Tyler Gilbert had thrown the majors’ most recent no-hitter on Aug. 14, and the Chicago Cubs threw the only previous combined effort on June 24. The other no-hitters this season were thrown by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (April 9), Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Cincinnati’s Wade Miley (May 7), Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull (May 18), and the Yankees’ Corey Kluber (May 19).
The no-hitters by Miley and Rodón both came against the Indians, as did a seven-inning no-hitter by Tampa Bay on July 7 that didn’t officially count in the Major League Baseball record book.
Comebacks bail out Blue Jays, Yankees
Aaron Judge tied it with his second homer of the game in the eighth inning, Mets infielder Javier Báez gave away the lead with an error a few at-bats later, and the Yankees beat their crosstown rival, 8-7, at Citi Field following a stirring ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The Yankees snapped a seven-game skid and ended a run of 11 losses in 13 games since a 13-game winning streak pushed them to the AL wild-card lead. They dropped into a tie with Toronto for the second wild card after the Blue Jays swept a doubleheader against Baltimore, 11-10 and 11-2.
The Mets remained five games behind NL East-leading Atlanta it lost to the Marlins.
The Yankees jumped to a 5-0 lead shortly after an emotional pregame tribute, then let it all slip away, capped by James McCann’s two-run homer that put the Mets up, 6-5, in the sixth.
The Mets added another run against Clay Holmes (7-3) before Judge lofted a tying two-run drive off Trevor May (7-3) that stayed in the air nearly seven seconds before dropping over the wall in left with no outs in the eighth.
Five batters later, reliever Aaron Loup induced a potential double-play ball from slow-footed pinch-hitter Luke Voit, but Báez sailed his throw on the pivot from second nearly into the home dugout, allowing pinch-runner Andrew Velazquez to score.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, Toronto needed last-inning comebacks in both ends of a doubleheader against the AL’s worst team. Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk hit a pair of two-run homers in an 11-run seventh during the nightcap, after George Springer hit a two-out, two-run homer in the opener’s seventh.
“It was a long day,” Springer said. “I just think this is a very resilient team and to get down early but to keep scratching and clawing every game is huge for us. Obviously, every game counts and this is a good day for us as a team. It’s onto tomorrow.”
In the opener, Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit his 43rd home run of the season to move within one of the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead.
Texas rally latest blow to fading Oakland’s wild-card chances
Jonah Heim hit a two-run home run with two outs in the eighth to cap a five-run rally, lifting Texas past the Athletics, 8-6, on Saturday in Oakland, Calif.
Trailing, 6-2, after being held down by starter Cole Irvin, the Rangers took advantage of the A’s struggling bullpen. DJ Peters hit a two-run home run and Yohel Pozo added an RBI double off Sergio Romo before Heim’s homer on an 0-2 pitch from Andrew Chafin (1-3).
Matt Olson, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha homered for the A’s. Oakland, which entered the day one game behind the Yankees for the second AL wild card, has eight blown saves in the last 19 games. The A’s loss spoiled a strong start by Irvin, who had eight strikeouts in seven crisp innings.
Also Saturday, injured A’s ace Chris Bassitt threw 30 pitches in his return to the mound for the first time since getting hit in the head by a 100 mph line drive in mid-August.
“It was just more about getting him on a mound, getting comfortable throwing again,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Rays put Wander Franco on IL, but power past Detroit
Joey Wendle tripled and homered, 30-year-old Dietrich Enns won for the first time in the major leagues with four hitless innings of relief, and the Rays won in Detroit, 7-2, over the Tigers. Kevin Kiermaier doubled and tripled to help Tampa Bay end a two-game losing streak. Enns (1-0) struck out six, nine years after being drafted by the Yankees out of Central Michigan. Rays starter Chris Archer gave up one run on two hits before leaving after four innings with left hip discomfort. Before the game, the Rays placed Wander Franco on the 10-day injured list due to the hamstring he injured on Friday. Manager Kevin Cash said he hopes Franco, on a 39-game on-base streak, can return this season . . . Zack Wheeler steadied the slumping Phillies with eight strikeouts and Bryce Harper homered again to lead Philadelphia to a 6-1 win over Colorado, snapping a four-game skid that had dropped them 4½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East . . . Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward left in the fourth inning of Chicago’s 15-4 loss to MLB-best San Francisco after sliding into third and getting kneed in the head by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. The five-time Gold Glove winner will be under close observation for the next 24 hours, according to Cubs bench coach Andy Green, who has managed the team in place of David Ross. Ross is expected to rejoin the Cubs on Sunday; he’s been away from the team since Sept. 3 after testing positive with a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Ross remained asymptomatic.