Orioles' John Means Throws 1st Career No-Hitter in Dazzling Effort vs. Mariners

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 5, 2021

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 05: John Means #47 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 05, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The 2021 season has its third no-no.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means threw a no-hitter versus the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, striking out 12 batters in a brilliant display.

B/R Walk-Off @BRWalkoff

History for @JMeans25 🔥<br><br>(via @MLB)pic.twitter.com/rGhSrxxjWm


He. Means. Business.<br><br>Orioles ace @JMeans25 has thrown a no-hitter in Seattle! pic.twitter.com/orYIc9nsSJ

How close was he to a perfect game? Only Sam Haggerty reached base in the third inning after a wild pitch on a third strike. He was erased when he was caught stealing second base.

It was Baltimore's first no-hitter since Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for one in 1991. Before that, the legendary Jim Palmer pulled off the feat in 1969.

As Jayson Stark of The Athletic noted, Palmer faced 35 batters in his no-no because he gave up six walks and the defense committed two errors. Means' afternoon went a bit smoother. He was untouchable.

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

John Means threw 26 of 27 first-pitch strikes today. That's 96.3%<br><br>Only 1 pitcher since 2000 has faced at least 25 batters in a game and had a higher 1st-pitch strike pct: Brad Radke on June 30, 2004 -- 96.4% (27 of 28)

And he made some history along the way:

ESPN Stats &amp; Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Means didn't allow a hit, walk or hit by pitch, while his team committed 0 errors.<br><br>This is the first time ever that a pitcher has thrown a non-perfect no-hitter with no walks, hit by pitches, or errors.<br><br>(h/t @EliasSports) https://t.co/SyWvlH09KU

MLB Stats @MLBStats

John Means is the first AL pitcher with 12+ Ks &amp; 0 BB in a no-hitter since Félix Hernández in 2012. pic.twitter.com/rTWSESxJqL

David Salituro @DavidSalituro

To find the last time an Orioles pitcher threw a no-hitter on the road, you would have to go all the way back to...1912.<br><br>Earl Hamilton of the St. Louis Browns threw one against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 30.#Orioles #Birdland

If there were questions about whether Means could be Baltimore's ace, well, he's answered them. He is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, a minuscule 0.67 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 46 innings across seven starts.

This no-hitter will be talked about for the controversy surrounding it as well, as some folks were more than a bit annoyed that a strikeout cost Means a perfect game:

Ben Verlander @Verly32


Britt Ghiroli @Britt_Ghiroli

I'm sorry but John Means really had a perfect game and the dropped third strike rule absolutely sucks.

Meg Rowley @megrowler

tired: debating whether this is a perfect game<br>wired: using this game to rail against the dropped third strike rule

It's the latest no-hitter controversy after Arizona Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner threw seven innings of hitless ball against the Atlanta Braves last Sunday. The game was just seven innings since it was part of a doubleheader, so MLB won't count it as a no-no since it didn't go nine innings.

Nobody's taking Means' no-hitter away. But it will be argued that his performance deserved better than the dropped third strike rule allows and that he should be immortalized among the 23 pitchers who have achieved perfection.