You may or may not recall that Braves rookie reliever Jonny Venters was handed a four-game suspension for plunking Prince Fielder a couple of weeks ago. He appealed, and the smart money had that appeal getting his suspension reduce to two games or something because that’s how those things always go. Turns out, however, that baseball dropped the suspension entirely.
It’s not often you see that. The last time was Cliff Lee’s suspension for that spring training plunking, but not a ton more examples come to mind. It certainly surprises me, not only because it’s unprecedented, but because I actually figure he might have deserved a bit of a suspension. He threw one at Fielder’s head and, whether it was intentional or not, he was given a warning before the next pitch hit Prince in the back. The bigger injustice in my mind is that there was no discipline the next day when a Brewers’ pitcher hit a Braves player.
But there you are. Venters is eligible and he can take his 1.07 ERA into this weekend’s series against the Reds.
Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.
Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.
Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.
Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.