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AJ Burnett No-Hits Cubs: Almost

By bullpenbrian - August 1, 2012 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Burnett

Not gonna lie. I was slightly disappointed Adrian Cardenas singled to break up AJ Burnett’s no-hit bid Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

Of course, I never want to see the Cubs get no-hit, but I’ve long dreamed of witnessing a big league no-hitter in person and last night looked as good as ever.

With the Pirates seemingly having the game in hand, leading 5-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth, something extremely unusual happened: my alliances shifted heavily towards seeing history rather than a Cubs win.

Burnett sat the Cubs down with ease 1-2-3 through the first three innings as it became clearly evident from my seat in section 419 the Buccos Ace was on top of his game.

Eleven straight Cubs batters were retired before I finally marked down Chicago’s first base runner on my scorecard–Anthony Rizzo’s two-out walk in the fourth.

At that time, however, I still had visions of a Cubs come-from-behind win (trailing 4-0). But after Soriano struck out to end the inning and Burnett then breezed through the fifth 1-2-3, the first thought of a no-hit bid entered my mind.

David DeJesus drew a two-out walk in the sixth and I figured the heart of the Cubs order would somehow manage a hit, but Starlin flew out to end the inning.

Rizzo, Soriano & LaHair went down in order in the seventh. I started counting outs–six more to go. Steve Clevenger grounded out to first leading off the bottom of the eighth–five outs to go.

Then Burnett lost control of a breaking ball that plunked Darwin Barney in the head. It was the first real sign of the righty losing steam. But the no-hitter remained intact.

Jeff Baker came in to replace Barney at first base and Louis Valbuena stepped to the plate. Strikeout swinging. Four outs away.

Burnett’s 7.2 innings was by far the deepest I had ever witnessed a no-hitter in person.

OTHER CLOSE PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS 

In 1997 I remember watching Reds’ rookie Brett Tomko last 4.1 no-hit innings against the Pirates. The 24-year-old was dealing until Jose Guillen broke it up with a single to right field (Dale Sveum followed with an RBI knock!).

Then during the 2003 season I saw Kerry Wood at his best sitting down the first 16 Reds batters he faced before a largely unknown bench player, Reggie Taylor, entered the game as a pinch-hitter and muscled a soft liner just over the outstretched glove of SS Mark Grudzielanek. There were two outs in the sixth inning.

Wouldn’t you know the same held true this evening when a little known rookie came to the plate, worked a full count, and hit a hard, clean single to right field. Base hit, Cardenas.

I could only smile, clap for Cardenas and then give Burnett a standing-O. He deserved one, after all, and to the credit of those in attendance last night, the majority of the crowd also rose to its feet to applaud Burnett’s gem before the mass exodus from the stands ensued.

I stuck it out, of course, while Burnett fanned two of the final four Cubs hitters to notch a complete game, one-hit shutout while improving his season record to (13-3).

Meanwhile, the Cubs impressive streak of not being no-hit since the great Sandy Koufax turned the trick with the Dodgers against Chicago in September 1965, dodged a close bullet.

Nearly as impressive is the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field coming by the performance of Milt Pappas against San Diego in 1972. Safe on all counts, thanks to Cardenas.

Burnett came painfully close to ending both streaks in one night, but as in life, some things just aren’t meant to be.

Maybe someday I’ll be fortunate enough to witness the always elusive no-hitter. But next time, I’d truly prefer to be rooting for the Cubs than against them.

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No No Notes

By bullpenbrian - September 15, 2008 - 6:39 pm Leave a comment.
  • Carlos tossed the 13th no-hitter in Cubs history and the first in 36 years (Milt Pappas – Sept. 2nd 1972)
  • Eight of the Cubs’ 13 no-no’s have come during the modern era of baseball, five happened in the 1800’s.
  • The 36 years between no-hitters is the third longest stretch in baseball: Philly waited 58 years (1906-54) and Detroit 38 years (1913-51).
  • The Mets (46 years) and Padres (39 years) are the lone teams in MLB without ever having thrown a no-hitter.
  • Z is the third Venezuelan to ever throw a no-hitter: the White Sox’s Wilson Alverez (Aug. 11, 1991) and Florida’s Anibal Sanchez (Sept. 6, 2006).
  • Carlos is the first pitcher to throw a no-no with his last name beginning with a Z.
  • He is also the first Cubs pitcher to record 10 strikeouts during a no-hitter.
  • The no-hitter is the first in Miller Park’s history.
  • Ken Holtzman is the last Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter on the road (June 3, 1971 at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium).
  • Zambrano and Holtzman are the only Cubs pitchers to throw a no-hitter in a night game.
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Zambrano’s No-Hitter!

By bullpenbrian - September 14, 2008 - 6:19 pm Leave a comment.

  • Sunday September 14th – Miller Park
  • Game (147): Cubs 5 – Astros 0
  • Record (89-58) – 1st place NL Central

The skinny: 110 pitches, 73 for strikes, NO HITS!!!

Great day for Zambrano. Great day for Cubs fans!

From the seventh inning on, I paced back and forth in front of the television like a caged lion, waiting on edge for Z’s next pitch.

Theriot waiting for the long-hop off Castillo’s grounder about did me in, I’m talking down on hands and knees!

But at long last, Erstad swings and misses and the Cubs’ have its first no-hitter in 36 years!!!

Props to Carlos for keeping it together mentally. If only this would last…

The talent, of course, has always been there. Mentally, not so much. If only…

Anyway, loved WGN playing Van Halen’s “On Top of the World” as the Cubs celebrated.

The Cubs needed something special from its ace with the pressure of the division race building. Eight innings of three runs or less would’ve got the job done. So we can only hope a no-hitter adds a little extra steam to the playoff push.

Remember, September has been tough on the Cubs, no Harden, no Zambrano, and a nine-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, it seems the only team playing worse than Chicago is Milwaukee, thankfully.

What a day to be a Brewers fan.

The Crew drops four straight at Philly, falls into a tie for the Wild Card, and watches the hated Cubs celebrates a no-hitter on their home field.

So, how about that Aaron Rodgers guy?

W – Zambrano (14-5)

L – Wolf (10-12)

  • Notes: Zambrano’s Line: 9 IP, 0-R, 0-H & 10 Ks.
  • Carlos retired the final 13 batters he faced.
  • Michael Bourne drew the only walk against Carlos in the fourth with one out: the next batter, Miguel Tejada, grounded into a double play.
  • In the fifth Zambrano plunked Hunter Pence with two outs, David Newhan followed by lining out to D. Lee ending the inning.
  • Carlos also went 1-for-3 with a single in the third inning; he later scored on Lee’s double to right.
  • Soriano’s lead off homerun is his 28th this season and the 49th leadoff bomb of his career.
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