Officially, Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game shutout Sunday. Unofficially, the Diamondbacks left-hander also threw a no-hitter.
The reason for the latter is that the game was only scheduled for seven innings as the nightcap of a doubleheader between the D-backs and Braves. MLB’s criterion since 1991 has been that a pitcher has to throw nine hitless innings to receive credit for a no-no.
Had the game gone to extra innings and Bumgarner thrown two more hitless frames, then he would have gotten the recognition. Arizona won 7-0 after scoring five runs in the first, so that wasn’t much of a possibility.
None of that takes away from what MadBum did in the best start of his two-year tenure with Arizona: He allowed just one baserunner, and that wasn’t even his fault. Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed committed a throwing error on Ozzie Albies’ ground ball to open the second inning.
Bumgarner induced a double play from the next batter, Travis d’Arnaud, and then retired the next 16 Atlanta hitters, meaning he faced the minimum 21 batters in the game.
If you want to ignore MLB’s logic, Bumgarner threw the third no-hitter of the 2021 season, joining the Padres’ Joe Musgrove and White Sox’s Carlos Rodon. And he still made baseball history as the first pitcher to go hitless since MLB instituted seven-inning games for doubleheaders last year as part of COVID-19 protocols.
Official or not, MadBum told reporters (per MLB.com) he was was “pretty proud” of the feat, which he said “has got to be up there” with the other top accomplishments in his career.
He also found a way to have fun with it.
“I want to say two things, then I’m going to celebrate with the guys: I want to thank these shadows in Atlanta; they helped me out a good bit. That’s pretty awesome. And I want to thank (MLB commissioner) Rob Manfred for making these seven-inning games,” he told Bally Sports Arizona. The game began at 4:17 p.m. ET under sunny skies and ended at 6:28 p.m. ET.
Arizona, in fact, came extremely close to having double no-hit performances in the twinbill. Right-hander Zac Gallen threw a seven-inning one-hitter in Game 1, with the lone hit coming in the sixth inning by Freddie Freeman.
“We just didn’t have it today,” Freeman told reporters, per MLB.com. “It’s April. We’re OK. It’s just that April 25 wasn’t the Atlanta Braves’ day. We’ll come back tomorrow and go get them.”
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