The Houston Astros patched together a bizarre performance, with a record six pitchers combining on the first no-hitter against the New York Yankees in 45 years.
Closer Billy Wagner stepped on first base for the final out of Wednesday night’s 8-0 win, and pumped his fist. While some Astros ran from the dugout to celebrate, others straggled onto the field.
“What’s amazing is that most of our team didn’t know about it,” Wagner said.
Left fielder Lance Berkman said second baseman Jeff Kent acted puzzled by the hearty high-fives.
“He was like, ‘What’s going on?'” Berkman said. “I said, ‘We no-hit them.'”
The Astros appeared to be in trouble when ace Roy Oswalt was forced to leave in the second inning because of a strained right groin.
But relievers Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Wagner completed the odd gem.
It was the most pitchers ever to combine on a no-hitter in the majors – four had twice done the trick.
The Yankees had gone 6,980 games – the longest streak in big league history – without being no-hit, since Hoyt Wilhelm’s 1-0 victory for Baltimore on Sept. 20, 1958.
The last time New York had been held hitless at Yankee Stadium was on Aug. 25, 1952, by Detroit’s Virgil Trucks.
“This is one of the worst games I’ve ever been involved in,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “It was a total, inexcusable performance.”
“I can’t find a reason for what happened today,” he said. “The whole game stunk.”
In other interleague games, it was: Toronto 8, Pittsburgh 5; Boston 13, St. Louis 1; Chicago Cubs 7, Baltimore 6; Cleveland 3, San Diego 2; Los Angeles 3, Detroit 1; Cincinnati 7, Tampa Bay 6; Minnesota 7, Colorado 4; New York Mets 8, Texas 2; Arizona 4, Kansas City 3; San Francisco 11, Chicago White Sox 4; Montreal 3, Seattle 1; Anaheim 5, Philadelphia 3; and Atlanta 11, Oakland 6.
In the lone NL game, Florida beat Milwaukee 6-5.
The Astros came into Yankee Stadium this week eager to soak up all the history of the ballpark.
Wagner talked about being in “awe” of the tradition, Lidge studied the black-and-white photos of famous Yankees outside the New York clubhouse and many other players toured Monument Park.
After Oswalt was injured, Munro pitched 2 2-3 innings, Saarloos 1 1-3 innings and Lidge (4-0) went two innings. Dotel worked the eighth, striking out four in an inning for only the 44th time in big league history.
Dotel and Wagner combined to strike out eight straight hitters before Hideki Matsui grounded out to end it.
“First appearance for most of us in Yankee Stadium,” Wagner said. “What better place could there be?”
Yankees’ fans stood and applauded as the Astros closed it out.
“One guy usually goes out there and does it,” Astros manager Jimy Williams said. “Maybe two, but not six.”
Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers combined for a no-hitter for Oakland against California on Sept. 28, 1975.
Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for a no-hitter for Baltimore at Oakland on July 13, 1991.
The closest New York came to a hit was in the fifth when Alfonso Soriano hit a shallow fly ball that Berkman caught with a tumble.
“It wasn’t that close,” Berkman said. “It probably looked more spectacular than it really was.”
This was the second no-hitter in the majors this season. Kevin Millwood pitched one for Philadelphia on April 27 against San Francisco.
And it came on the 65th anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer’s first no-hitter. The only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters, he started that streak on June 11, 1938, for Cincinnati against the Boston Braves.
Overall, it was the third no-hitter in a game between AL and NL teams, and all of them have been at Yankee Stadium. The other two were perfect games – Don Larsen did it against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series and David Cone did it against Montreal on July 18, 1999.
Back on July 12, 1990, Melido Perez of the Chicago White Sox held New York hitless in a game shortened to six innings by rain at Yankee Stadium. Because the game did not go nine innings, Perez is not officially credited with a no-hitter.
Blue Jays 8, Pirates 5
Roy Halladay won his ninth straight start, breaking Roger Clemens’ team record, and Carlos Delgado hit his AL-leading 21st homer for Toronto at SkyDome.
Halladay (9-2) allowed one run on eight hits in eight innings. He struck out nine and walked one. The 26-year-old right-hander hasn’t lost since April 15 against the Yankees – a span of 12 starts.
Pittsburgh’s Aramis Ramirez extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games.
Braves 11, Athletics 6
Javy Lopez hit one of five Atlanta homers off Ted Lilly and drove in four runs at Oakland.
Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles, Andruw Jones and Vinny Castilla also connected for the Braves, who lead the majors with 104 homers.
Dodgers 3, Tigers 1
Kevin Brown earned his NL-leading ninth victory and Fred McGriff’s go-ahead single moved him into a tie with Joe DiMaggio on the career RBIs list as the Dodgers won in Detroit.
McGriff knocked in Brian Jordan in the fourth inning to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. It was McGriff’s 1,537th RBI, tying DiMaggio for 36th place.
Brown (9-1) broke a tie with St. Louis’ Woody Williams and Colorado’s Shawn Chacon for the most wins in the NL.
Red Sox 13, Cardinals 1
Pedro Martinez pitched three solid innings in his return from the disabled list for Boston, which had a season-high 19 hits.
Martinez left to a standing ovation at Fenway Park after throwing 47 pitches as the Red Sox eased him back into action. He went on the disabled list May 25 with an inflamed tendon and strained muscle high on his right side.
The Red Sox ace struck out three and allowed two hits and no walks.
Indians 3, Padres 2
C.C. Sabathia took a shutout into the eighth inning as Cleveland won for the 10th time in its last 12 home games.
Sabathia blanked the visiting Padres on nine hits for 7 2-3 innings before giving up Brian Buchanan’s two-out, two-run homer.
Reds 7, Devil Rays 6
Kelly Stinnett hit a grand slam and Aaron Boone snapped a ninth-inning tie with an RBI single as Cincinnati handed Tampa Bay its season-high sixth straight loss.
Jose Guillen started the winning rally in the top of the ninth with a one-out single off Jesus Colome. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Boone’s hit after Austin Kearns was walked intentionally.
Mets 8, Rangers 2
Cliff Floyd homered and drove in five runs for New York and Jae Seo pitched seven effective innings at Texas.
Floyd, who finished 3-for-4, put the Mets ahead to stay with a two-run single in the first. He hit his 13th homer in the seventh.
Giants 11, White Sox 4
Rookie Jesse Foppert pitched one-hit ball into the eighth inning, and Pedro Feliz hit a grand slam as San Francisco won at Chicago.
Barry Bonds added a two-run homer, the 630th of his career.
Twins 7, Rockies 4
Kyle Lohse allowed one run over six innings and Corey Koskie had four of Minnesota’s 15 hits at the Metrodome.
Colorado’s Aaron Cook fell to 0-6 on the road.
Diamondbacks 4, Royals 3
Arizona rookie Andrew Good won his third straight start, allowing just two unearned runs in six innings at Kansas City.
Good kept his composure despite the Diamondbacks making three errors in the first three innings.
Cubs 7, Orioles 6
Chicago won at Camden Yards without Sammy Sosa, who began a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat.
Matt Clement has won two straight starts after going six in a row without a victory.
Melvin Mora extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games for Baltimore.
Expos 3, Mariners 1
Livan Hernandez pitched seven strong innings as Montreal won its sixth straight game.
Seattle lost its second straight home game after returning from an 11-1 road trip.
Angels 5, Phillies 3
Bengie Molina hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the sixth inning as Anaheim beat visiting Philadelphia.
Marlins 6, Brewers 5
Rookie Dontrelle Willis (5-1) won his fourth straight start and Luis Castillo and Derrek Lee each homered for Florida.
Down 6-4, Milwaukee loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth against reliever Braden Looper, but was able to score just one run.