Madison Bumgarner is back on track.
The Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw allowed 17 earned runs in his first three starts of the 2021 campaign but bounced back in his fourth while allowing one run in five innings. All he did in his fifth start was throw a no-hitter.
Well, sort of.
Bumgarner threw seven hitless innings in Sunday's 7-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately for the veteran, it isn't recognized as an official no-hitter.
Matt Kelly of MLB.com explained in August that when seven-inning doubleheaders were added to the rulebook, Elias Sports Bureau, which is Major League Baseball's official statistician, ruled that an individual or team has to pitch at least nine hitless innings for it to count as an official no-hitter. The decision to enforce the rule in such a way adhered to a 1991 ruling by a committee led by then-Commissioner Fay Vincent.
Sunday's game was the second of a doubleheader.
MLB Network's Jon Heyman noted the official ruling is up for debate:
It was quite the afternoon for Arizona, which won the first game 5-0 behind a seven-inning shutout from Zac Gallen. Gallen allowed just a single hit and struck out six, while Bumgarner struck out seven and rendered the bullpen moot during the course of an entire doubleheader.
The southpaw's performance would have been an unofficial perfect game, but shortstop Nick Ahmed's error in the second inning allowed Ozzie Albies to reach base.
This is just another accomplishment for Bumgarner, who has three World Series titles, a World Series MVP, a National League Championship Series MVP, four All-Star appearances and two Silver Sluggers on his resume.
Those all came during his time on the San Francisco Giants from 2009 through 2019, and he struggled on his way to a 6.48 ERA during the shortened 2020 campaign in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
He now has a memorable moment in Arizona following Sunday's brilliant showing and will look to write a new chapter by continuing to pitch like he has in his last two starts.