Today was Kenny’s birthday, and fittingly history was made on this day. I’m hoping Kenny was watching this game from above. Josh Beckett has made history on this Sunday afternoon. Less than a year removed from surgery for Thoracic Outlett Syndrome, Beckett has pitched the 21st no-hitter in Dodger’s history Sunday afternoon. He did it with a 128-pitch effort in a 6-0 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The win gave the Dodgers a series win and a winning road trip. The club will now fly home to begin a ten game home stand starting Monday evening on Memorial Day. Talk about a happy flight home!
Of course before the game everyone was talking about Matt Kemp being benched for the third straight game, his move to left field which appears imminent, and Hanley Ramirez’s sore calf which may keep him out longer than expected. Josh Beckett’s performance overshadowed those stories.
But who cares about all that. Josh Beckett pitched a no-hitter guys. It was incredible. I’m not kidding. Beckett was dominating. Not one ball was hit hard the entire game. It was just routine out, after routine out. With the one exception of Brown’s deep drive that sent Crawford to the wall in the fifth. Otherwise, nothing!
The Dodgers scored a run in the first, a run in the second, one in the sixth, and three runs in the seventh. Gordon singled and stole second in the first. Gonzo’s RBI double plated him to put the Dodgers up 1-0 early. Then in the second Justin Turner blasted his second home run, a solo shot to dead center field. That made it 2-0 Dodgers. Erisbel Arruebarrena drove in his first run with an RBI single in the sixth, and in the seventh, the Dodgers got a walk to Gordon, an error on Howard, and a run scoring single from Gonzo. Dee Gordon stole two more bases to give him 30 on the season.
Arruebarrena, Turner, and Puig had two hits. Gonzalez had three hits as the Dodgers pounded mound opponent A.J. Burnett for six runs on 11 hits through seven frames. But who cares about all that. Let’s get back to Beckett. Besides making 128 pitches, he walked three and whiffed six. Beckett induced 11 ground outs and 10 fly outs. The Phillies never really challenged him at all.
Here’s how history was made in Philadelphia on Sunday…….
The Dodgers get on the board first in the top of the first. Dee Gordon singles, and then easily steals second as he usually does. Crawford’s fly out to center allowed Gordon to tag up to third. Yasiel Puig lines out to Utley. But Adrian Gonzalez doubles into the gap to score Gordon! Dodgers lead 1-0!
Beckett gets through the bottom of the first inning fairly easy. Ben Revere leads-off and grounds out to Gonzo. Rollins grounds out to first. Utley walks, but Beckett gets Howard called out on strikes.
The Dodgers come out strong in the top of the second frame as well. Just Turner surprisingly smokes a solo home run to straightaway center field over the wall and into the shrubs. Dodgers lead 2-0 on Turner’s second home run of the year.
Then Butera and Arruebarrena both single through the first base hole into right field, putting runners at first and second. After those consecutive singles, Beckett sacrifices the runners to second and third. Butera tries to score on Gordon’s grounder to first, but Howard throws him out easily. Crawford lines out to right as Byrd runs in to make the catch.
Beckett walks Byrd leading-off the bottom of the second, but retires the next three hitters in a row to get out of the inning without issue. 2-0 Dodgers after two.
Gonzalez with a one-out single in the top of the third. Ethier hits into what appears to be a taylor made double play, but the umps rule that Ethier beat the throw to first and is safe. Philadelphia challenges the play, but they lose and the original call is upheld. But it all is for not as Turner whiffs swinging to end the inning.
Beckett whiffs Burnett in the bottom of the third, and then retires Revere, and Rollins to throw a 123 frame. Burnett settles down and returns the favor with a 123 top of the fourth.
Beckett blows through the bottom of the fourth. Utley flies to left. Howard grounds out to Gonzo, and Byrd whiffs. Dodgers up 2-0 after four frames. Beckett has now retired nine batters in a row.
The Dodgers don’t score in the top of the fifth. The Dodgers get a two-out single from Puig, but that’s it. Puig also steals second base.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dominic Brown’s deep drive to left sends Crawford back to the wall but he makes the catch. Wil Nieves grounds out to Gonzo, and Cesar Hernandez taps back to the box. That’s twelve in a row now for Beckett.
The Dodgers get a very important insurance run in the top of the sixth. After Ethier grounds out, Turner singles up the middle. He’s running on Butera’s grounder so the Dodgers stay out of the double play. This proves important. Arruebarrena smacks a base hit to right scoring Turner, who slides in just around the tag, and the Dodgers are up 3-0.
Beckett continues to roll through the bottom of the sixth. Burnett grounds out to short. Revere flies to left, and Rollins grounds out to first. Beckett has now retired 15 in a row.
The Dodgers explode for three runs in the seventh. Gordon walks and steals second. He now has 30 stolen bases already. Howard botches an easy grounder down the line when Crawford’s chopper clanks off of his glove. The error allows Gordon to score, and Crawford goes to second. Puig legs out a double, and the Dodgers have second and third with none out. Gonzo singles to right, that scores Crawford, and Puig goes to third. 5-0 Dodgers. Ethier’s double play grounder scores the sixth Dodger run. It’s 6-0 Dodgers.
Beckett keeps the streak going, tossing yet another 123 frame in the bottom of the seventh. Utley grounds out to Gordon. Howard flies out to center, and Byrd pops out to Ethier in shallow center. Beckett is just six outs away from a no-hitter!
Move to the bottom of the eighth. The Dodgers are still leading 6-0 at this point. Beckett has reached 100 pitches this inning. He whiffs Brown. Nieves grounds out, and then he whiffs Hernandez swinging! Beckett is three outs away from history!
Let’s move to the bottom of the ninth. Can Beckett make history? Old friend Tony Gwynn jr. pops up to Arruebarrena for the first out. Ben Revere’s chopper to first pulls Gonzo off the bag, who has to feed Beckett covering first. That’s two down! One more out to go!
Beckett then walks Rollins, but he whiffs Utley swinging! He’s done it! Josh Beckett has pitched a no-hitter! The rest of the Dodgers mob him on the mound as Butera bear hugs him, lifting him him in the air.
This the first no-hitter for the Dodgers since Hideo Nomo’s no-no in September of 1996. What a special moment for Beckett. He has worked very hard this season to come back to where he is. This is an extraordinary accomplishment for the veteran hurler.
Hopefully this wonderful day will be like the brawls of last year, and give this club a spark. This is a much better way to jumpstart the club. Can we do this again? Anytime the club is struggling, just pitch a no-no. Ok, ok, I guess it’s not that easy. Could this be the turning point in the season for the Dodgers?
The Dodgers return home for a Memorial day special at 5:10 PM. it won’t be an easy task. Hyun-jin Ryu will face Johnny Cueto and the Reds.
This one’s for you Kenny!