April 22 (UPI) — Oakland Athletics lefty Sean Manaea threw the first no-hitter of the 2018 season in a 3-0 win against the red-hot Boston Red Sox.
Manaea walked two batters in the gem Saturday at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. He tossed 10 strikeouts against the team with the best record in Major League Baseball.
The A’s starter walked Mookie Betts to start the game, making perfection impossible. But he didn’t issue another walk until the ninth inning.
He had his closest call for a hit in the fifth inning, when A’s shortstop Marcus Semien sprinted back to field a ball hit by Sandy Leon. He raced toward left center and attempted an over-the-shoulder catch, but the ball hit the ground.
Umpires ruled the play an error, keeping the no-no intact.
“I just thought it was a hit,” Manaea told reporters. “So from then until like the eighth inning, I didn’t think … I thought it was just a one-hitter. I didn’t think it was a no-hitter. Then I looked up in the eighth and ninth and I saw that it was still zero and I was like ‘woah, that’s weird.’”
“So when the eighth and ninth came, especially after the eighth when I got that strikeout, then coming into the ninth. My heart was beating out of my chest. I had to do everything I could to stay calm and not overdo things.”
Manaea said he tossed the Red Sox a mixture of fastballs in and out, changeups and sliders.
The A’s got an RBI double from Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the first inning. Stephen Piscotty scored Semien on an RBI double in the bottom of the third frame. Semien hit a solo home run off of Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Manaea improved his ERA to 1.23 on the season after the dominant performance. The Red Sox have the most hits, the most runs scored and the highest batting average in baseball. Manaea allowed just two hits and one run in seven innings in his start against the Seattle Mariners on April 15. He owns a 3-2 record this season.
The 26-year-old’s no-hitter was the first thrown this season and the first by an Oakland pitcher since 2010.
“Everything [was working for him] today,” A’s manager Doug Melvin told reporters. “That’s a pretty good hitting team over there … that’s hot. He’s working both sides of the plate. The slider has come so far for him, especially against lefties now. Two or three pitch mix guy. He used them all today, effectively, both sides. That’s the only way you do something like that.”