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Volquez throws no-hitter, Marlins top Diamondbacks 3-0

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MIAMI (AP) — Edinson Volquez has thrown the sixth no-hitter in Miami Marlins history, facing the minimum 27 batters and beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0 on Saturday.

Volquez (2-7) struck out 10, and the two baserunners who reached on walks were erased by double plays. He needed 98 pitches, the last of those striking out Chris Owings to complete the masterpiece.

It’s the first no-hitter in the majors this season, and the first time Arizona was no-hit since the Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez threw one on Sept. 6, 2006.

Volquez was nearly knocked out of the game after only three pitches, when he collided with Diamondback leadoff man Rey Fuentes as he covered first and rolled his ankle.

“I thought I broke my ankle,” he kidded after the game.

The 33-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic stayed in, and wound up throwing the game of his life.

Volquez was one of the pitchers the Marlins brought in this past offseason in part to fill the void caused by the death of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash last September. His first season in Miami started about as badly as possible; the Marlins lost eight of his first nine starts and Volquez dropped his first seven decisions.

Tied for the major league lead in losses going into Saturday, he was nearly perfect.

Nick Ahmed – who broke up a no-hit bid by Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson in the eighth inning one week earlier – led off the ninth for Arizona and struck out on four pitches. Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso came up, and after falling behind 2-0 lead in the count, Volquez stopped for a moment, composed himself with a deep breath, and eventually got the strikeout on a 2-2 fastball.

That left it up to Owings, another pinch-hitter.

Strike one.

Strike two.

And then came a swing and a miss for strike three, one that got away from catcher J.T. Realmuto for a brief moment before he fired to Justin Bour at first to seal the no-hitter as the Marlins swarmed the field in celebration.

Bour had two hits and two RBIs for the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton scored twice and Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna both had two hits. Miami gave Volquez two insurance runs in the eighth, though they were hardly needed.

Randall Delgado (1-1) gave up six hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings for Arizona.

Volquez threw a one-hitter for San Diego against Houston on July 19, 2012 – the only blemish that night coming on a fourth-inning infield single by the Astros’ Matt Downs.

That was one of his rare flirtations with this kind of history. Another came in 2014, when he had a no-no bid for Pittsburgh snapped on a leadoff single in the seventh by Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco.

Other than that, this was uncharted waters.

Volquez is the epitome of a baseball journeyman. The Marlins are his seventh franchise in his 13 big-league seasons, and he came into Saturday with just a 90-86 career record.

He was an All-Star in 2008, when he went 17-6 with Cincinnati and was basically the lone bright spot for the Reds in what was a dismal season.

In 2015, Volquez helped Kansas City win the World Series crown. He started Game 1 on the same day his father died.

A trio of great plays in the Marlins’ infield kept the no-hit bid going in the fourth.

Second baseman Dee Gordon dove to his left to corral a hard grounder by Fuentes, getting the ball to first just in time.

David Peralta followed with a comebacker that Volquez – who was more facing second base than the plate at the time – somehow snared, starting the second out.

And then Paul Goldschmidt was called safe after shortstop JT Riddle fielded a high chopper but pulled first baseman Justin Bour off the bag with a high throw.

Bour, though, managed to reach back and slap a tag onto Goldschmidt’s hand. The play was reviewed and overturned, with the Marlins were so confident that replay would go their way that all eight fielders were basically a few steps from the dugout when the ruling came.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: Arizona rested Owings (3 for his last 22, before the appearance in the ninth) and LF Yasmany Tomas (3 for his last 25). OF Gregor Blanco (thumb) was out of the lineup for a second straight day, and the Diamondbacks said RHP Braden Shipley will start in place of RHP Taijuan Walker (blister) on Sunday.

Marlins: 3B Martin Prado (hamstring) has been taking ground balls and is continuing to work his way back, with the expectation remaining that he could return within two weeks. Saturday’s was the 24th game Prado has missed since getting hurt in early May.

BARK AT THE PARK

Fans could bring their dogs (and many did, since barking was heard all day throughout Marlins Park) to Saturday’s game, part of an event designed to support the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Pet adoption services were also on-site, and Riddle said he “almost left with a couple dogs.”

UP NEXT

Shipley (0-1, 6.75) makes his second start of the season for Arizona, against Miami’s Vance Worley (0-2, 4.50) in the series finale.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.