Aaron Sanchez
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Astros toss combined no-hitter against Mariners

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Astros right-hander Aaron Sanchez and relievers Will Harris, Joe Biagini, and Chris Devenski no-hit the Mariners on Saturday, marking the 12th no-hitter (and second combined no-no) in franchise history.

Saturday’s 9-0 win also marked Sanchez’s first official outing with the Astros following his trade from the Blue Jays at Wednesday’s trade deadline. After taking 10 losses in his last 12 starts in Toronto, Sanchez looked unhittable against Seattle. He issued just two walks over six innings and struck out six of 21 batters, finishing his run with a pitch count of 92.

In the seventh, right-handed reliever Will Harris subbed in for Sanchez. He preserved the no-hitter for another inning, inducing a groundout from Daniel Vogelbach, walking Domingo Santana on five pitches, and getting J.P. Crawford to ground into an inning-ending double play.

In the eighth, Joe Biagini—another piece of the Sanchez trade—stepped in to carry the no-hitter a little further along. His first inning in an Astros’ uniform went about as well as Harris’ had: He induced a groundout from Austin Nola, walked Ryan Court, landed a strikeout against Keon Broxton, and encouraged another groundout from Mallex Smith to bring the team within three outs of their first combined no-hitter since 2003.

Behind the combined efforts of Sanchez, Harris, and Biagini, the Astros mustered a substantial nine-run lead, highlighted by a pair of doubles from Michael Brantley and José Altuve’s 356-foot home run — his 18th of the season — in the fifth.

With three outs remaining, Houston skipper A.J. Hinch turned the ball over to Chris Devenski. It’s been a touch-and-go season for the 28-year-old right-hander, who carried a 4.31 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, and 9.9 SO/9 into the game. On Saturday, however, he was flawless, utilizing just 12 pitches as he retired Kyle Seager, Omar Narvaez, and Vogelbach in order.

Before Saturday, the Astros hadn’t seen a no-hitter in nearly three years. Mike Fiers was the last to do it for Houston, in a 3-0 affair against the Dodgers during the summer of 2015. The Mariners, on the other hand, are the most recent MLB team to be on the receiving end of a no-hitter, as they were blanked by the Angels’ Taylor Cole and Felix Peña just last month. Following the Astros’ impressive feat, the Mariners are also the first team to be no-hit twice in a single season since the 2015 Dodgers.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.

While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.

There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.

Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.

Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.

Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice.  And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.