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Edinson Volquez pitches the first no-hitter of 2017

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It’s been 408 days since a major league pitcher successfully completed a no-hit bid. On Saturday, Marlins’ hurler Edinson Volquez brought that streak to an end with his first career no-hitter against the Diamondbacks.

The 33-year-old right-hander maintained a perfect game through four innings before issuing a walk to Jake Lamb to lead off the fifth inning. A few close plays nearly spoiled the no-no, including a controversial play in the fourth inning, when Paul Goldschmidt was called safe after evading a tag from Justin Bour at first base. Upon review, the call was overturned in the Marlins’ favor, gifting Volquez with his 12th out of the game.

More alarming was Volquez’s violent collision with Rey Fuentes in the first inning, which left both players shaken up and almost forced Volquez to make an early exit from the game.

Volquez allowed a second baserunner in the eighth inning, walking Chris Herrmann on five pitches moments before Brandon Drury hit into an inning-ending double play. In all other respects, Marlins’ No. 3 starter looked untouchable on the mound, striking out 10 of 27 batters and expending just 98 pitches to earn another rare distinction: the ‘Maddux’, a title reserved for those who toss a complete game shutout with 99 or fewer pitches.

With the gem, Volquez became the first Marlins pitcher to record a no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez‘s no-no against the Tigers in September 2013. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Glenn Sattell, that was also the last time a pitcher of any MLB affiliation tossed a ‘Maddux’ no-hitter, as Alvarez needed just 99 pitches to complete the shutout.

Even more meaningful was Volquez’s motivation heading into the game. Hours before his start on Saturday evening, he posted a tribute to former teammate Yordano Ventura on Instagram. Ventura was killed in a car crash in late January and would have turned 26 years old on Saturday.

Miss you broth HBD to Ace Ventura one love

A post shared by Edinson Volquez (@edinsonavolquez36) on

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.