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With the Baltimore Orioles five years into an exhaustive rebuild, John Means gave Orioles fans a reason to be hopeful. Means was almost perfect Wednesday, throwing a no-hitter during a 6-0 win against the Seattle Mariners.
Means was sensational against Seattle, striking out 12 batters and issuing 0 walks en route to the victory. Means had complete mastery of his changeup, baffling Mariners hitters all game. He induced 26 swinging strikes during the fantastic start.
The only blemish keeping Means from a perfect game came in the third inning, when Sam Haggerty reached first base on a wild pitch after striking out. Haggerty was thrown out trying to steal second base, meaning Means faced the minimum number of hitters possible.
With the accomplishment, Means threw the 10th no-hitter in Orioles' history. The team's most recent no-hitter came in 1991, when Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for a no-no against the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles have had one other combined no-hitter, which took place in 1967.
The last time one Orioles pitcher completed a no-hitter came in 1969, when Jim Palmer did it against the Athletics. Means' no-hitter marks the eighth time in franchise history a no-hitter has been completed by one pitcher.
It's the third no-hitter thrown during the 2021 MLB season. San Diego Padres starter Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter of the season in April. Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon followed that up with a no-hitter of his own a week later.
John Means pays tribute to father after no-hitter
Following the contest, Means said he felt his father with him during the game. Means' father died of cancer last August.
Means also has his father's initials on his glove. Means said he looked at those initials before taking the mound for the ninth inning.
John Means lifts rebuilding Orioles
Means' no-no comes with the Orioles deep into a massive rebuild. The Orioles have not had a winning season since 2016, and have bottomed out in recent years, winning 47 games in 2018 and 54 games in 2019. They've finished in last place in the American League East three out of the last four seasons. The team finished fourth in the AL East during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
For at least one day, however, Means, 28, gave Orioles fans a reason to be happy. His dominant performance Wednesday is a shining light for a fan base that has endured plenty of failure lately.
Orioles fans won't look back on this era of the franchise's history kindly, but Means gave them something they'll never forget, and a reminder that better days are ahead.
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