2:43 p.m. EDT: Brett Lawrie broke up the no-hitter with a two-run single to center with two outs in the seventh. The runners had previously moved up on a wild pitch, allowing the single to tie the game at 2.
Jimenez finished the seventh from there, but since he’s at 95 pitches now, there’s a good chance he’s done for the day.
2:40 p.m. EDT: Jimenez walked two of the first three batters in the seventh, leading to visit from the pitching coach and Rafael Perez getting up in the bullpen. The one out came despite Shin-Soo Choo losing a fly to right-center in the sun. Fortunately, center fielder Michael Brantley was able to step in and catch it.
Ubaldo Jimenez retired the first 17 batters he faced and has took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday against the Blue Jays.
Jiemenz and Brandon Morrow actually had dueling no-hitters going into the bottom of the fifth. After Morrow started that frame with two quick outs, J.P. Arencibia committed a throwing error on Casey Kotchman’s grounder in front of the plate. It should have been the third out of the inning, but Jason Kipnis followed it with a two-run homer before Jack Hannahan struck out.
Jimenez didn’t allow a baserunner of any sort until Colby Rasmus walked with two outs in the sixth. He’s at 75 pitches through six.
The exceptional outing follows an exhibition season in which Jimenez allowed 24 runs — 19 earned — and 30 hits in 23 innings. He struck out 15 and walked 15 in his seven starts.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.