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John Means was brilliant on Wednesday afternoon in Seattle when he did something no Baltimore Orioles pitcher had done in half a century, and only three others have done in their history.
Means threw the first no-hitter of his career in a 6-0 Orioles win over the Seattle Mariners. It was the first time in his career Means had even pitched into the eighth inning, let alone completing the game. Not only did he allow zero hits, but Means did not walk a batter either.
The only thing keeping Means from throwing just the 24th perfect game in MLB history was a wild pitch on one of his strikeouts, leading to a dropped third strike and a runner on. The baserunner was promptly thrown out trying to steal, meaning Means faced the minimum 27 batters for a nine-inning game.
Means threw first-pitch strikes to 26 of the 27 batters he faced despite an inconsistent, small strike zone from the home plate umpire. Means has turned into one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, with Wednesday's game the signature moment of his career to date.
The last no-hitter for the Orioles came all the way back in 1991 when four pitchers combined to hold the Athletics hitless. The last no-hitter completed by a single pitcher came from Jim Palmer all the way back in 1969, also against Oakland. This was also the first no-hitter in Orioles history to come on the road.
52 years is a long time to go between no-hitters for any franchise, especially one with such a pitching-rich history like Baltimore. The O's have thrown just five no-hitters in franchise history since returning to Baltimore in 1954, and two of the five were combined efforts.
This was already the third no-hitter in Major League Baseball this season, with Means following Carlos Rodon (White Sox) and Joe Musgrove (Padres).