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This Day In Sports…June 9, 2015:
The San Francisco Giants become the first major league team in 50 years to produce no-hitters in four straight seasons when rookie Chris Heston blanks the New York Mets, 5-0. The streak started with Matt Cain’s perfect game in 2012 and was followed by no-nos from Tim Lincecum each of the following two seasons. The Los Angeles Dodgers had last accomplished the feat from 1962-65, with each of the no-hitters thrown by Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. Heston was also the first pitcher to end a no-hitter by striking out the side since Koufax in 1965.
The Dodgers have recorded the most no-hitters in major league history with 26, although that tally goes back to the late 1800s when they began play as the Brooklyn Atlantics. Koufax holds the team record with those four no-nos in consecutive years in the 1960s. Koufax is second in career no-hitters to Nolan Ryan, who threw seven. Ryan recorded four of his with the California Angels in the 1970s.
In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds became the only pitcher to throw two consecutive no-hitters. The first came against the Boston Bees (later the Braves) and was solid, as Vander Meer struck out four batters and walked three. The second one was a bit shaky. Vander Meer survived eight walks in the first-ever night game played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. He almost imploded when he walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but a pop-up ended the game. Vander Meer never matched that mastery again in his big league career.
Heston can relate. He flirted with another no-hitter later in the 2015 season and finished 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA, but that was the peak of his career. Heston was sent to the minors after only four bullpen appearances in 2016 and spent the rest of the season there. He was traded to Seattle at the end of the year but made only two appearances with the Mariners in 2017, giving up 11 earned runs. The M’s waived Heston, and Minnesota picked him up. He was sent to the minors after one appearance with the Twins and never played in the majors again.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)
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