In their first appearances for their new team, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini helped the Houston Astros make history with a combined no-hitter in a 9-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Sanchez, Will Harris, Biagini and Chris Devenski all contributed to the no-hitter.
Brian McTaggart @brianmctaggart
The no-hitter was the 12th in Astros history and first since Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers in 2015. It was the club’s second combined no-hitter. The other came on June 11, 2003 when Roy Oswalt, Pete Muro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner did it at NYY.
Making his first start for Houston since being acquired at the deadline on Wednesday, Sanchez tossed six innings of hitless baseball, allowing three baserunners (two walks and a hit batsmen) in the process. He was removed after throwing 92 pitches.
That left the fate of the no-hitter in the hands of the Astros bullpen.
Right-hander Harris relieved Sanchez in the seventh and faced the minimum three batters, wiping out a one-out walk to Seattle designated hitter Domingo Santana with a double play.
Biagini, who was acquired in the same deal as Sanchez, pitched the eighth. While the right-hander issued a free pass to Mariners left fielder Ryan Court, he too kept Seattle out of the hit column.
And that set the stage for Devenski to finish off the historic performance.
A change of scenery proved to be quite beneficial for Sanchez, at least for one night. Sanchez led the majors with 14 losses while making 23 starts for Toronto this season.
And while a pitcher with an earned run average above 6.00 may seem like an unlikely candidate to throw a no-hitter, Sanchez's 6.07 ERA at the start of the night wasn't even the highest for a pitcher prior to a no-hitter this season. Oakland Athletics right-hander Mike Fiers had a 6.81 ERA when he no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on May 7.
Interestingly, this is the second time in recent memory Houston has had a midseason acquisition take part in a no-hitter. The Astros acquired Fiers from the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2015 trade deadline, and less than a month later, he threw his first career no-no.
This marks the second time in less than a month that Seattle has been the victim of a combined no-hitter, with each coming against a division rival. The Los Angeles Angels' Taylor Cole (two innings) and Felix Pena combined to no-hit the Mariners back on July 12.
All three no-hitters in MLB this season have been thrown by American League West teams.
To top it all off, the loss drops Seattle (47-66) to 25.5 games behind Houston (72-40) in the division. And it won't get any easier for the Mariners on Sunday. 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP awards winner Justin Verlander, who already has two no-hitters on his resume, will take the mound for the Astros in the series finale.
The Sanchez-Biagini trade was overshadowed by the blockbuster deal for 2009 AL Cy Young award winner and six-time All-Star Zack Greinke. But Sanchez and Biagini were able to steal the spotlight before Greinke has even been able to take the mound.