Thursday April 5 4:13 AM ET
Nomo Gets No-Hitter
By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) – First, Hideo Nomo conquered Coors Field. Then he gave a command performance at the bandbox called Camden Yards.
Nomo became the fourth player in major league history to throw a no-hitter in both leagues, using his trademark hesitation delivery and a crafty mix of pitches to lift the Boston Red Sox past the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Wednesday
Nomo’s first no-hitter, in September 1996 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is the only one ever pitched at Colorado’s high-altitude Coors Field. Now, he’s the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at 10-year-old Camden Yards.
“Tonight was better,” he said, recalling that there was a two-hour rain delay in his initial no-hitter.
This game was delayed at the start for 43 minutes because of a power outage, but once the lights came on, it was lights out for the Orioles.
“He mixed his pitches well,” said Baltimore’s Jerry Hairston, who struck out three times. “I’ve been in the major leagues for parts of four seasons, and that’s the best split-finger fastball I’ve ever seen. He was throwing 88-89 (mph), but with the splitter it seemed like 95 with some movement.”
Nomo walked three and struck out 11. Cal Ripken, who reached in the second inning on an error by third baseman Shea Hillenbrand and moved up on a wild pitch, was the only Orioles player to get to second base.
In his initial game with Boston, Nomo became the first Boston pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Dave Morehead beat Cleveland in 1965 – three years before Nomo was born in Osaka, Japan. “I felt pretty good throughout the game,” said Nomo, signed as a free agent in December. “As I was going into the ninth inning, I was not nervous.”
That was apparent in the Boston dugout, where Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan marveled at just how calm the right-hander appeared as he toed the pitching rubber with three outs to go.
“You could see on his face that he was very focused. Nothing bothered him,” Kerrigan said. “It was one of those situations where a bomb could go off on the side of the mound and he’d still be looking for a sign. He had great intensity.”
There was no reason to be jittery. At that point, Nomo had already proved that his horrid spring (0-3, 11.37 ERA) was just an illusion.
Second baseman Mike Lansing saved the no-hitter with a backhanded, tumbling catch of Mike Bordick’s soft looper to center field for the second out in the ninth.
Lansing, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, knew exactly how important it was to catch up to the rapidly falling baseball.
“You know what’s going on. As soon as I saw it, I put my head down,” Lansing said. “I knew I had to go all out and get there. … He had worked so hard to get that far. I didn’t want him to lose it at that point.” Two pitches later, Delino DeShields lofted a routine fly to left field that Troy O’Leary caught for the final out. Nomo was lifted by catcher Jason
Varitek and mobbed by his new teammates as O’Leary ran in to give the pitcher the ball.
Nomo, 32, needed 110 pitches to dispatch the Orioles, who last were no-hit in 1991 by Chicago’s Wilson Alvarez in Baltimore’s old Memorial Stadium. It was the earliest no-hitter in baseball history, coming three days earlier than Houston’s Ken Forsch in 1979 and Detroit’s Jack Morris in 1984.
The Orioles didn’t get anything close to a hit until Lansing’s catch in the ninth. Before that, the hardest-hit ball was a drive to the warning track in center by Melvin Mora in the second inning, but Carl Everett had more than enough room to make the play.
As the game wore on, many in the crowd of 35,602 abandoned the home team and cheered each out.
“People in the U.S. like good baseball, whether you’re on the home team or not,” Nomo said through an interpreter.
Nomo joined Cy Young, Jim Bunning and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers with no-hitters in both leagues.
Nomo won the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers, exciting all of baseball with Nomo-mania. In 1997, Nomo became the fastest pitcher in major league history to reach 500 career strikeouts, doing it in 444 2-3 innings.
But he struggled the past three seasons, going 26-32 for the Dodgers, Mets, Milwaukee and Detroit. He entered the season 69-61 with a 3.97 ERA.
Brian Daubach took care of the offense for Nomo, hitting two home runs off loser Sidney Ponson. The first homer, in the third inning, followed an error by Ripken. He added a solo shot in the eighth.
Ponson pitched well enough to win – on most nights. He allowed three runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings, walking one and striking out 10.
“I threw a good game, but the other guy throws a no-hitter,” Ponson said. “What are you going to do?” Notes: Ponson’s 10 strikeouts were one short of his career high. … Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his second game with Boston. … Ripken, dropped to seventh in the batting order, went 0-for-3 and is 0-for-7 this season.
Red Sox’ Starting Pitcher Hideo Nomo (11) is Cheered…
Thu, Apr 12 08:17 AM
Boston Red Sox’ starting pitcher Hideo Nomo (11) is cheered by the crowd as he walks to the dugout after pitching against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Boston’s Fenway Park, Tuesday, April 10, 2001. Nomo pitched the Red Sox first no-hitter since 1965 on April 4, 2001 against the Orioles in Baltimore . The Red Sox beat the Orioles 10-1 Tuesday. Photo by Steven Senne (AP)
Boston Red Sox Pitcher Hideo Nomo is Congratulated by…
Thu, Apr 12 08:18 AM
Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo is congratulated by catcher Jason Varitek, right, and Brian Daubach following his 3-0 no-hit win over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore Wednesday, April 4, 2001. Photo by Roberto Borea (AP)
Red Sox Pitcher Hideo Nomo Carries off the Pitcher’s…
Wed, Apr 11 04:24 PM
Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo carries off the pitcher’s rubber from the mound at Baltimore’s Camden Yards prior to a game against the Orioles at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday April 11, 2001. Nomo was given the rubber as a gift in honor of his no-hit game he threw on April 4th in Baltimore. Photo by Charles Krupa (AP)
Red Sox Pitcher Hideo Nomo Lifts the Pitcher’s…
Wed, Apr 11 04:19 PM
Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo lifts the pitcher’s rubber from the mound at Baltimore’s Camden Yards prior to a game against the Orioles at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday April 11, 2001. Nomo was given the rubber as a gift in honor of his no-hit game he threw on April 4th in Baltimore. At right applauding is Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette. Photo by Charles Krupa (AP)