Joe Musgrove only allowed one base runner, who reached on a hit-by-pitch. The last team without a no-hitter was San Diego. Joe Musgrove speculated late Friday night that it might have been destiny. How else to justify his sudden status as the first pitcher in the history of his hometown team to throw a no-hitter? Musgrove was drafted by Toronto, went on to win a World Series with Houston, and started for Pittsburgh on opening day. His inner compass, on the other hand, still pointed back to him.
“Just a San Diego kid that made it to the big leagues,” Musgrove said on a Zoom call from Arlington, Texas, after his 3-0 masterpiece against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. “So it feels even better to be able to do it in a Padres uniform — and, selfishly, be able to do it for my city and have everyone know that the kid from Grossmont High threw the first no-hitter.”
It finally happened in the Padres’ 8,206th game, an even longer wait than the Mets faced until Johan Santana’s first no-hitter in Game No. 8,020 in 2012. The Mets’ futility, on the other hand, was more difficult to comprehend. They were the team that brought Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Dwight Gooden to the majors. It seemed more appropriate for the Padres.
The Padres, who joined the National League as an expansion team in 1969, had a losing record in 12 of their first 13 seasons. Randy Jones received the Cy Young Award in 1976, Gaylord Perry in 1972, and Jake Peavy in 2007, but no pitcher has remained with the team long enough to win more than 100 games.
Kevin Brown had the best season ever by a Padres pitcher in 1998, according to statistics. Brown, on the other hand, was just going through; he had thrown a no-hitter for the Marlins the year before and was a Dodger by 1999.
When Musgrove was traded from Pittsburgh to the Padres in January, he looked up to Peavy and picked his old number, 44. Although Peavy made a name for himself in San Diego, he also won championships with other teams. The Padres have yet to receive their first.
Musgrove was brought in to assist in the process. The Padres had already acquired Yu Darvish and Blake Snell before adding Musgrove, overhauling their rotation to support a lineup led by Manny Machado at third base and Fernando Tatis at shortstop.
Musgrove was brought in to assist in the process. Before acquiring Musgrove, the Padres had already traded for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, overhauling their rotation to back an offense led by third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who are both signed to $300 million contracts.
Isiah Kiner-final Falefa’s out of the no-hitter was a bouncer to shortstop, but it was handled by Ha-Seong Kim, not Tatis. Tatis, 22, collapsing to the ground in pain after a swing in the fifth game of the season, is out indefinitely with a minor labrum tear in his leg.
The injury dampened the Padres’ enthusiasm, but Musgrove rekindled it with 112 brilliant pitches in the last three innings, including zero fastballs. Musgrove, like his former Houston teammate Lance McCullers Jr., who threw 24 consecutive curveballs to shut out the Yankees in the 2017 playoffs, put the most famous pitch on the shelf and focused on the ones that worked.
“We were just going to empty the tank out with my best stuff,” he said, “and the slider was the go-to weapon.”
Victor Caratini, the Padres’ catcher, also caught Alec Mills’ no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs last September. It was Mills’ first career complete game, while Musgrove was making his 85th start. Pitchers throwing nine innings are so uncommon these days that four of the last seven starters to throw a no-hitter had never previously thrown a complete game.
Musgrove’s goal of pitching nine innings had always been a goal, as shown by his practice of lining up nine pieces of gum on a towel in the dugout before each start. He chews a piece before each inning, but has never completed all nine, he said.