Hometown hero: San Diego’s Musgrove pitches no-hitter against Rangers

  • San Diego Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, second from left, is mobbed by teammates after pitching a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

ARLINGTON, Texas — San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter in the history of his hometown team, allowing only one baserunner in a 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

The Padres were the only active MLB franchise without a no-hitter, and it came in their 8,206th regular-season game — from a 28-year-old who grew up just down the road in El Cajon, California.

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“It’s awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform,” said Musgrove, who had never thrown a no-hitter at any level. “To have it be the first in the history of the franchise, that’s incredible.”

In only his second start for San Diego, a franchise that played its first game in 1969, Musgrove (2-0) struck out 10 and faced 28 batters, one over the minimum.

Padres manager Jayce Tingler let Musgrove go the distance because he was so efficient — and knowing what it would mean to have a hometown player end the franchise’s no-hitter drought in its 53rd season.

“I think in a way that makes it, if it can be any sweeter, any more special for him, to do it growing up in San Diego and this being his team, it’s about the perfect story written,” Tingler said.

The only Rangers baserunner was Joey Gallo, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth inning. Jose Trevino had a hard lineout to right field for the final out of the eighth, and David Dahl ripped the first out of the ninth right at second baseman Jake Cronenworth.

“There was like three different scenarios where I thought I lost it,” Musgrove said.

Musgrove (2-0), who threw 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes, is in his sixth major league season. He previously pitched for Houston (2016-17) and Pittsburgh (2018-20) and never had thrown a complete game in his previous 84 career starts.

“I’m freaking exhausted, man,” he said. “There was no way I was coming out of that game.”

It was the first no-hitter in the majors this season and only the second complete game.

The majors’ last no-hitter was thrown by the Chicago Cubs’ Alec Mills on Sept. 13, 2020 against Milwaukee. His catcher was Victor Caratini, who was also behind the plate for Musgrove.

San Diego acquired the big righty as part of a seven-player, three-team trade on Jan. 19. He pitched for Pittsburgh last season.

In his debut for San Diego, which came at home last Saturday, he struck out eight in six scoreless innings against Arizona. He had no walks in winning that game, when he threw 57 of 78 pitches for strikes.

It was the fourth time a no-hitter was thrown against the Rangers. The last had been by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox on April 18, 2007.

According to Baseball-Reference, there had been 307 no-hitters in MLB history before Musgrove and the Padres. That included 293 individual no-hitters and 14 combined no-nos.

The Padres had their share of close calls the past 52 seasons. They came within one out twice, most recently on a combined bid started by Aaron Harang against the Dodgers on July 9, 2011. Juan Uribe ended that no-hitter with a double off Luke Gregerson, then scored a batter later in a 1-0 LA win.

Wil Myers put the Padres ahead to stay in the second inning with his RBI double, then scored from second base on Tommy Pham’s flyout to deep right-center to make it 2-0 against Kohei Arihara (0-1).

Arihara made his first start for the Rangers after pitching the last six seasons in Japan. He allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) over four innings. He threw only 73 pitches.

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The double by Myers got Eric Hosmer home from first base, though it took a replay review of nearly two minutes for the safe call to stand. Hosmer got his left hand on the plate about the same time catcher Trevino’s sweeping tag got him on the shoulder.

Myers raced home after Pham’s flyball was caught by Leody Taveras on the track in front of Rangers bullpen in right-center. Taveras made a clear catch, but when he turned to throw the ball back in, he scooped it out of his glove and it rolled away from him.

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