SEATTLE (AP) — Hisashi Iwakuma became the second Japanese-born pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in the fourth no-hitter this season and first by an American League pitcher in nearly three years. Hideo Nomo threw big league two no-nos after starting his career in his home country of Japan.
“I was aware of it obviously, but I felt it real deep in my heart in the ninth inning,” Iwakuma said through a translator. “Just focusing on one hitter at a time and I’m glad I got it done.”
Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels — prior to his trade to Texas — Washington’s Max Scherzer and San Francisco’s Chris Heston all tossed no-hitters this season.
Third baseman Kyle Seager made a nifty, twisting over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to start the ninth, but the 34-year-old Iwakuma needed little help in completing his first career complete game and the Mariners’ fifth no-hitter.
Teammate Felix Hernandez’s perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 15, 2012, was the last time an AL pitcher did not allow a hit in a game. There have been 11 individual no-hitters and one combined no-hitter by NL pitchers since then.
With Mariners fans on their feet and cheering, Iwakuma got Gerardo Parra to line out softly to center fielder Austin Jackson for the first no-hitter against Baltimore since Boston’s Clay Buchholz did it in 2007. Baltimore has been no-hit seven times.
After his 116th pitch settled in Jackson’s glove, Iwakuma was mobbed by his teammates. Hernandez was wearing a fuzzy bear hat that was handed out as a promotion earlier in the season to honor Iwakuma.