Joe Musgrove, one of the San Diego Padres’ vaunted new additions to their pitching staff, threw the first no-hitter in franchise history Friday.
Musgrove, the hometown boy now playing for the team he rooted for as a child, retired 16 in a row to finish the Padres’ 3-0 win over the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
“It feels even better to be able to do it in a Padres uniform,” he said.
Joey Gallo, the only Ranger to reach, did so in the 4th inning when Musgrove hit him with a pitch, a 91 mph cutter.
Padres fans, well represented in the Texas crowd, erupted when Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a grounder to shortstop Ha-Seong Kim for the final out.
The Padres, the only team in baseball without a no-hitter, waited 53 years – 8,205 games – for the milestone to happen.
In achieving it, Musgrove struck out 10 and walked none in the complete game shutout.
He had scares. Seong-Kim made a backhand grab of another Kiner-Falefa grounder, to lead off the bottom of the 4th. In the 8th, right fielder Wil Myers grabbed a liner off the bat of Jose Trevino and in the 9th, David Dahl lined a shot at Jake Cronenworth.
Manager Jayce Tingler, who had relievers up in the bullpen late, said Musgrove was so “freakin’ efficient” with his pitches that he ultimately left him in the game.
“It’s about the perfect story,” he added, for a player like Musgrove to not only pitch a big league no-hitter, but to do so for his hometown club.
Musgrove said in post-game news conference that he didn’t feel good in warm-ups. His back was tight and he felt his delivery was inconsistent. Early, he said it felt “like I was just willing my way through those at-bats.”
Then he realized in the 6th inning that he had a no-hitter.
He credited catcher Victor Caratini for guiding him to the accomplishment. The duo bypassed fastballs late, he said, relying on sliders and curveballs. Musgrove also ceded control to his catcher, finally telling him, “Whatever you feel is right, I’ll throw.”
Caratini, in fact, caught baseball’s last no-hitter, by Alec Mills of the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 13, 2020 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“That was like the maximum level of focus I’ve ever had,” Musgrove told Bally Sports San Diego, adding that until Friday he never threw a no-hitter at any level of baseball.
Musgrove, 28, grew up in El Cajon, graduated from Grossmont High and revered Padre great Jake Peavy. He wears Peavy’s old number, 44, now.
As good as Peavy was though, he didn’t pitch in any of the near no-hitters the Padres have witnessed since the franchise’s first year as a major league team, in 1969. (He did, however, almost earn one while with the San Francisco Giants in 2014.)
MLB.com compiled a list of those Padre near misses, including two in 2018, by Jordan Lyles and Tyson Ross. Both lost their no-hit bids in the 8th inning, Lyles to the Colorado Rockies and Ross to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chris Young came close twice, in 2006 and 2008. In the earlier game, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he cruised until one out in the 9th inning, when he gave up a two-run home run.
One of the Padres’ current starting five, Chris Paddack, also flirted with the feat two years ago, when he pitched seven no-hit innings against the Miami Marlins.
He will take the mound Saturday against Texas, who will counter with Lyles, a Ranger since 2020.