Orioles' John Means throws near-perfect no-hitter; Reaction from Means, Palmer, Hyde and Severino - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ John Means throws near-perfect no-hitter; Reaction from Means, Palmer, Hyde and Severino

John Means no-hitter
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson - USA Today Sports

Even though he has been dominant this season, Oriole starter John Means thought a day like today was out of the question. He had never even pitched into the eighth inning of a game, and in Brandon Hyde’s three seasons as Orioles manager, he’d never allowed a pitcher to get even two outs in the eighth.

That all changed on Wednesday, a day that will go down in Orioles history.

Means pitched the Orioles’ first no-hitter since July 13, 1991 and the sixth in team history. He faced 27 hitters, the minimum number. When he struck out Seattle’s Sam Haggerty in the third, Haggerty reached first when the low breaking ball got past catcher Pedro Severino and was ruled a wild pitch. Haggerty then was thrown out by Severino trying to steal.

Means threw first-pitch strikes to 26 of 27 hitters. He struck out 12 and threw 113 pitches in the Orioles’ 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners before 6,742 at T-Mobile Park.

“I didn’t know until, I think it was the sixth,” Means said about the no-hitter. “When you pitch away, they definitely let you know from the stands if you have a no-hitter or not. I finally figured that out. In the dugout, I just tried to keep my calm, keep my focus, and not worry about it too much and just stay loose.

“I was trying to talk to as many people as I could, and laugh and joke and try to stay as loose as I possibly can.”

It was the first non-perfect no-hitter in history with no walks, no batters hit-by-pitch and no errors, It was accomplished by a pitcher who was selected in the 11th round of the 2014 draft and who was never a top prospect.

“It’s special, it’s pretty crazy,” Means said. “I hope it lets everybody, every kid coming up knowing that anybody can do it. I was on my way out in the minor leagues, [trying to] figure out how to make a living out of this and, hopefully, kids coming up, even the ones overlooked, they have a chance.”

In the ninth inning, Means retired Dylan Moore on a popup to third baseman Rio Ruiz in foul territory, struck out Haggerty and, on the first pitch of the at-bat, J.P. Crawford hit a soft liner to shortstop Ramón Urias.

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“When I started the inning, I got a little bit of the Jello legs,” Means said. “I felt a little wobbly, but once I threw that first pitch, I was able to lock in again.”

In the eighth inning, Seattle’s Kyle Lewis led off with a hard hit ball to deep left field that Austin Hays caught.

“I think I told Hays that ball was way out,” Means said. “Thank God he was there to catch it. If this was Camden Yards, it was probably gone. I’m glad we’re in Seattle.”

Manager Brandon Hyde saw two no-hitters by former Oriole Jake Arrieta when he was a coach with the Chicago Cubs, one in August 2015 and another in April 2016. This was much harder to watch.

“My stomach was turning from the eighth on,” Hyde said. “A lot of things are going through your head … I was just pulling for the guy. I had Dillon Tate up while we were hitting in the ninth. I didn’t want anybody up while he was pitching in the bottom of the ninth.

“‘How quickly can I get Tate in the game because he’s going to throw more pitches than I’m comfortable with after a hit?’ I wanted us to get three quick outs in the top of the ninth because I wanted to get it going.”

Means has been exceptional this season. On Opening Day, he allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings in Boston against the Red Sox.

It’s been a year in which Means has become one of baseball’s top pitchers. In 2020, he lost his father, Alan, to pancreatic cancer in August, pitched poorly, and then rebounded to throw four strong games to finish the season.

“I looked at my glove right before I went out there for the ninth,” Means said. “It has [my father’s] initials on it, and I said to myself, ‘he wouldn’t care, he’s just glad that I’m having a good time.’ The accolades never mattered to him, but it was pretty special, and I know he’d be proud.”

The last Orioles’ no-hitter was thrown by four pitchers — Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson. Jim Palmer threw the Orioles’ last solo no-hitter on August 13, 1969.

Palmer broadcast the combined no-hitter in Oakland in 1991 and watched Means’ no-hitter at home in California.

“Not to belittle no-hitters because they just kind of happen,” Palmer said. “They’re kind of a spur of the moment thing … A no-hitter is a no-hitter. It’s kind of like a freak thing. As well as he’s pitching, I don’t expect the team to get a whole lot of runs.

“The biggest factor is, I look at the modern-day starting pitcher. You can have no-hit stuff and maybe pitch six innings because the pitch count gets you. He was efficient. I don’t expect him to give up a whole lot of runs any time anymore. He’s been that good.”

Means can’t believe he’s compared with the greatest pitcher in Orioles’ history.

“To be in the same breath with Palmer, I don’t think it gets much better than that,” Means said.

The other no-hitters were by Hoyt Wilhelm on September 20, 1958, Tom Phoebus on April 27, 1968, and Steve Barber and Stu Miller on April 30, 1967. The Orioles lost the Barber/Miller no-hitter, 2-1, as the go-ahead run scored on an error. Barber walked 10 in 8 2/3 innings. Means came as close to perfection as one can.

“I never thought that would happen,” Means said about pitching a no-hitter. “I never thought in a million years. I was never that kid who had the confidence in myself to be able to get to this point. I never thought I’d be here. I’d always write ‘MLB player’ when I was a kid on the sheet when they asked you want you wanted to do when I was older. I never thought it was a reality.

“Now that it is, now that I’ve thrown this, it’s crazy. I don’t even know how to describe it. I don’t know how to put it into words.”

Means, who was named an All-Star in his rookie season in 2019, has never been much for attention.

“I’ll probably shrug it off as much as I can,” Means said. “I just love baseball, man. I just love it. I just want to go out there every fifth day and compete. That’s all I care about. As long as I’m playing this game, I’m happy.”

The Orioles (15-16) scored two runs in the second on RBI singles by DJ Stewart and Ramón Urias. Pat Valaika hit his first home run in the seventh against Seattle starter and loser Yusei Kikuchi (1-2).

Trey Mancini hit a three-run home run in the eighth to make it 6-0. It was Mancini’s sixth of the season.

It didn’t matter to Means that he wasn’t credited with a perfect game despite facing just 27 batters.

“I’m just happy that I got through,” Means said. “I’m happy I went complete game. I was stuck in the seventh inning. That was the farthest I’ve gone so far. To be able to go 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 had never caught a no-hitter, and he felt badly that it couldn’t have been the 22nd perfect game in baseball history.

“He would have thrown a perfect game today if I don’t let that breaking ball get through my legs,” Severino said. “I feel very bad, but he still threw a no-hitter, and we celebrate. John Means is a really good pitcher … It’s not really hard to catch him.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Shamus

    May 5, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Way to go John Means!!!! Way to go Os!! 4-2 road trip.. impressive

  2. AR-Watch-2021

    May 5, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Congratulations to John Means! Great game!

  3. CalsPals

    May 5, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Awesome job…congrats & go O’s…

  4. BarstoolSleeper

    May 5, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Great job Means! What a game. That no hitter was for Ray Miller!

  5. Phil770

    May 5, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    The most dominant pitching performance that I have ever seen… beginning to end. I was on-hand to see the Tom Phoebus no-no, which was exciting and impressive, but still not as impressive as this one. What a great guy .. post-game interview, he gave Severino credit for calling a great game… Sevvy kept him from a perfect game, which is was. I wonder if there has ever been a “28-out” no-hitter… wow.

    • AR-Watch-2021

      May 5, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      So it begins…it was scored a wild pitch but Severino should have stopped it, right? Can’t we just enjoy the no hitter without this hating sir?

      • Birdman

        May 5, 2021 at 6:48 pm

        And first thing Means said in post-game interview was that Severino called a great game, and that he couldn’t have done it without Severino.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 5, 2021 at 7:45 pm

        The man can say whatever he wants. You go Phil.

      • Phil770

        May 6, 2021 at 10:02 am

        I have been one of Severino’s biggest defenders and supporters. He even admitted he should have stopped it. I don’t hate on any player, but a MLB catcher should have been able to block that pitch. It is my observation/opinion. You seem to want to hit everyone whenever it disagrees with your own. For all of your grousing about others, we all have stayed with our screen names for years. You changed your several times.

    • CalsPals

      May 5, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Agree Phil, spot on….go O’s…

    • Birdman

      May 5, 2021 at 9:21 pm

      Chance Sisco, one extra base hit in 40 plate appearances, and a .162 batting average, must be promoted to no.1 catcher immediately!

  6. AR-Watch-2021

    May 5, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Adley watch – good news! First hit at AA is an RBI single! Good news all around today!

    • Bhoffman1

      May 5, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      He will catch Means next no hitter

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 5, 2021 at 7:34 pm

        I think he’ll catch Means perfecto.

    • AR-Watch-2021

      May 5, 2021 at 7:26 pm

      Tempering the good news is the fact Adley has struck out 5 times in 8 at bats so far…

    • Bhoffman1

      May 5, 2021 at 7:53 pm

      Doesn’t concern me at all

      • AR-Watch-2021

        May 5, 2021 at 8:54 pm

        You’re such an Adley homer that can’t surprise anyone at all BH…

    • CalsPals

      May 5, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Nice FRO, what a source of sunshine…go O’s…

      • AR-Watch-2021

        May 5, 2021 at 8:55 pm

        Ah imitation is the highest form of flattery, thanks sweetie! Hope you aren’t mad though…

    • CalsPals

      May 6, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Sorry, my bad, definitely wasn’t going for flattery…go O’s…

  7. Bhoffman1

    May 5, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    It doesn’t get any better then this a no hitter really a perfect game even though history won’t record it that way. Plus a 3 bagger by Mancini. This can win now with a few tweaks

    • Bhoffman1

      May 5, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      TEAM. Dreams are made of today’s game

    • jaygotcha

      May 6, 2021 at 6:37 am

      Mancini had a three-run homer not a triple lol

    • Bhoffman1

      May 6, 2021 at 7:07 am

      I
      Meant 3 run homer

  8. Icterus fan

    May 5, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Cloud 9, man. Wow what a win!!!
    This kid is so humble, and the post game comments about his Father just continue to show that he is so classy.

  9. OriolesNumber1Fan

    May 5, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Awesome performance today! I watched the entire game on the MLB package deal I get every year and Means was just dealing!!! First pitch strikes to the first 17 batters and 26 of the minimum 27 batters he faced!!! First time in his career he went longer than 7 innings and what a way to do it!!! Means has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts dating back to last September. He’s been just sensational. Things are certainly looking up for the Orioles, I don’t care what the haters are saying!!!

    • 33d St

      May 5, 2021 at 10:27 pm

      Those first pitch strikes were something else. Reminds me of what Chuck Thompson always used to say: “The best pitch in baseball is Strike One.” Amen to that.

  10. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 5, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Wow …. just wow. I was wrong. This guy IS an ace. Fun to watch.

  11. Bmore

    May 5, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Congratulations to John means looks like we have ourselves a true ate the first one since moose

  12. Orial

    May 5, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    Great performance for Mr. Means. Hope the young pitchers took note. Apropos that a ball getting away from Severino(called a wild pitch) cost the perfect game. I can see the Yankees eyeing Means up as we speak.

    • CalsPals

      May 5, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      He’s a keeper, don’t even want to think that, can you imagine the uproar….go O’s…

  13. dlgruber1

    May 5, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    So before the season began I said a means would be a #3 starter in mist MLB teams. Now this. So let’s try it with some other players. Ok, RM, he’d be a platoon player on most teams. Ruiz couldn’t start anywhere but Baltimore. Franco and Galvis wouldn’t be wanted by any other teams. Help me out with some more guys.

  14. dlgruber1

    May 5, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Now for a serious comment. With all the stats geeks out there someone might know this answer. Has ANY pitcher EVER thrown that many 1st pitch strikes when facing the minimum number of batters? That to me was the most remarkable thing about him today. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 5, 2021 at 11:08 pm

      Dave, only Brad Radke on June 30, 2004, who went 27 of 28, but he got shellacked on that game. Remember, a hit on the first pitch counts as a strike. So, no comparison.

    • dlgruber1

      May 5, 2021 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks Rich. I couldn’t imagine that had ever been done before.

  15. Bhoffman1

    May 5, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    So excited about the no by Means but i have to mention PatV. He is starting to hit , has power. I’d like to see what he could do as a everyday second baseman instead of utility guy

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 5, 2021 at 9:34 pm

      Yes he is, but I’d keep V as a utility guy. The answer at 2nd lies somewhere else. But the question begs … why hasn’t he been that utility man for us all year long instead of Urias?

      Anybody that gets their head out of the SQL database long enough to actually watch a game can tell you who the major league player is. Valaika is. Urias is simply not. His talent level falls somewhere between American Legion and the Mexican league. I wonder what his “OPS” is now? (strike that .. actually I really don’t care)

  16. Eastern Sho Joe

    May 5, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I actually teared up. Been a long time since I’ve seen Orioles M-A-G-I-C like this.

  17. 33d St

    May 5, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    Great game and congratulations Mr. Means! That last out – liner to short – gave me a little jolt of that last out in the ‘83 Series when Cal reeled in a similar little soft liner. Ah what a great moment! So happy for him and the O’s!

  18. Birdman

    May 5, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Great, thrilling performance by Means … and quietly, under the radar, Trey Mancini has moved into second place in RBI in all of MLB.

    • dlgruber1

      May 5, 2021 at 11:43 pm

      Wow! Quietly and under the radar is right. I would’ve never known that. If Mancini brings the average up the O’s will have 4 legitimate All-Star candidates in Means, Mullins, Valdez and Mancini.

  19. Hasta la vista pelota

    May 5, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Will they hold on to him?

  20. Rob IsraOsFan

    May 5, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Just woke up and read the great news!!! Congrats John Means!! What a performance!!

    • dlgruber1

      May 6, 2021 at 12:45 am

      What a way to begin your day! Now if they can just win their next game to get back to that pesky .500.

  21. Jeffpop

    May 6, 2021 at 6:25 am

    Fabulous to watch an historic game for the O’s after so many recent disappointments. Means was sensational. Never in 65 years of watching baseball have I seen such a dominant performance. Hope these guys use this as a springboard to bigger and better things!! Go O’s!!!

  22. willmiranda

    May 6, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Great achievement for a great guy! A pitcher whose only imperfection was a strikeout!

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