Yesterday the Giants faced the half of the Brewers squad that wasn’t facing the Cubs over at HoHoKam. In that game, a nearly two-year old grudge continued to play out as Prince Fielder and Barry Zito jawed at one another after Zito walked Fielder.
The grudge, of course, is based on Fielder’s infamous “bowling ball” celebration after he hit a walkoff homer against the Giants in 2009. In response, Zito plunked Fielder in a spring training game last March. Yesterday’s little back and forth came after Zito walked toward home plate following his walk to Fielder to ask the ump what was wrong with the pitch that was called ball four.
Like any rivalry, however, this one has gotten more refined and enjoyable over time. For evidence, just look at what they said to Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel about the incident after the game yesterday:
“I asked the umpire if it was a ball or a strike and Prince was letting me know it was a ball,” said Zito. “We talked a little bit. Asked how his off-season went. How’s the family? No new tats (tattoos).”
Fielder had a different recollection of the chat though equally fictional.
“We have the same agent (Scott Boras) so we were talking about going out to dinner. I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
After which they shared some tea.
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.