In throwing the fourth no-hitter in the major leagues this season, Jackson walked eight batters to define himself as a pitcher in one performance. He also might have redefined the term "effectively wild."
Jackson, who also hit a batter, needed a startling 149 pitches — by 11 the most in a no-no since they started to keep track, and the most anyone has thrown in any game in five years — to take down the Tampa Bay Rays by a 1-0 score Friday night.
Wild thing, you make our hearts sweat.
The eight walks tie for the third-most in a no-hitter and are the most since A.J. Burnett(notes) walked nine San Diego Padres in 2001. (Seattle's Cliff Lee(notes), by the way, has four walks in 11 starts this season.)
"I just told myself to keep attacking the strike zone," said Jackson, who pitched for Tampa Bay from 2006-2008.
It was an attack, all right; It's a wonder Jackson didn't spray Rays guts everywhere around home plate. Jackson, who at 26 years old has logged nearly 800 career innings with four teams, came in averaging about four walks per nine.
It should be noted that all but one of Jackson's walks Friday came in the first three innings. After that, he was efficient.
"Whatever happens, let it happen," Jackson said he told himself. "If it's meant to be, it's going to happen. Go out there and relax and don't try to make anything happen."
The Angels' Nolan Ryan (in 1974) and the Pirates' Dock Ellis — who later famously claimed he was high on LSD at the time in 1970 — also walked eight in no-hitters. The Reds' Jim Maloney walked 10 in 1965 for the record.
"I didn't pay attention to the pitch count at the end; I didn't want it on my mind," Jackson said.
If you won't, Edwin, won't we won't. Actually, we will. Sandy Koufax no-hit the Mets on 138 pitches in 1962 (listen to Vin Scully's call); Randy Johnson(notes) did the same against the Tigers in 1990. Johnson, in '04, has the D-backs' other no-no.
D-backs manager A.J. Hinch ignored possible dangers, to the pitcher and the lead (it was just a one-run game) and let Jackson go for it.
"We stopped counting at about 115," Hinch said. "You do want to make smart decisions. You do have a chance at history and you don't want to take it away from him."
(With all of my years of managing experience, I would not have done it differently, considering Jackson's improved command after the third.)
Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) and Roy Halladay(notes) (who was perfect along with Braden) also have no-no's. Jackson's would have been the fifth no-hitter this season if Jim Joyce had not blown a call (did you hear about it?) to derail Armando Galarraga's(notes) bid for a perfect game.
Still, with three-plus months to go in the regular season, the record for most no-hitters — seven, in 1991 — is reachable.
Heck, the Rays might help us get there all by themselves. Before winning the World Series, of course.
* * *