All-Star left-hander John Means added another highlight to his blossoming career with a no-hitter in the Orioles’ 6-0 win against the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday at T-Mobile Park. The only blemish was a bizarre one.
With one out in the third inning, Means got left fielder Sam Haggerty to whiff on an 80-mph curveball for his fourth strikeout of the game — but the wild pitch eluded catcher Pedro Severino and rolled to the backstop, allowing Haggerty to take first base.
When a catcher doesn’t cleanly catch a swinging third strike at the plate, the runner has the opportunity to take first base. More often than not, the catcher blocks the pitch, and it’s just a matter of gathering it and throwing to first base for the out.
That wasn’t the case Wednesday.
Though Severino caught Haggerty stealing at second base almost immediately to erase the runner, the consequence was historic. Means threw the sixth no-hitter in Orioles history and the first individual one since Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in 1969 instead of the 24th perfect game in MLB history.
Means, for his part, didn’t mind.
“It’s fine,” he said. “It happens to everybody. It’s not a big deal. I’m just happy that I got through it. Honestly, I’m happy I got a complete game. I’ve been stuck in the seventh inning. That was the farthest I’ve gone so far, to be able to go the eighth and ninth, I was happy with that. But to get a no-hitter, I could care less that it wasn’t a perfect game.”
Severino was harder on himself for his role in it. Asked about what it was like to catch history the way that he did, he put the blame for Means not throwing a perfect game on himself.
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“He should be throwing a perfect game today if I blocked that, if I get that breaking ball between my legs,” Severino said. “I feel just really, very bad. But after, we still threw a no-hitter. We celebrated. John Means is a really good pitcher.”
Severino said “it’s supposed to be my job to block that ball,” and that he tried to make the best throw he could to second base to rectify it.
Manager Brandon Hyde, a former catcher himself, credited Severino for his role in the no-hitter.
“They were just working in such good rhythm,” he said. “They had a great rhythm between them. You rarely saw John shake. The tempo was amazing. I thought he received the ball extremely well. Really proud of him. He’s come a long way behind the plate, and his receiving is improving, and to catch a no-hitter, that’s something he’s never going to forget.”
As for the dropped third strike, Hyde wasn’t interested in highlighting it.
“I don’t want to take away from anything,” he said. “I just want to enjoy this special game. It was early in the game with a lot of game left, and then he makes an A-plus throw on a stolen base attempt and puts it right on the bag. I just want to enjoy this, honestly.”
According to MLB.com, Means was the first pitcher to throw a 27-out no-hitter in MLB history where the only batter reached base on a dropped third strike.