For the San Diego Padres, breaking the team’s streak of no no-hitters was the least of their worries.
San Diego’s playoff hopes faded Sunday as the San Francisco Giants beat the Padres 3-0 to take the National League West division and leave the N.L. wild card spot for the Atlanta Braves.
That freeze’s the Padres’ streak of no no-hitters until the 2011 season at 6,626 games, 1,180 games shy of the New York Mets streak. (The Mets have been at it since 1962, whereas the Padres just got started in 1969.)
The 2010 season began with four teams in the no no-no club, but the two junior members – the Colorado Rockies and the Tampa Bay Rays – turned in their memberships cards earlier this year. The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez no-hit the Atlanta Braves on April 17, and the Rays’ Matt Garza no-hit the Detroit Tigers on July 26.
The Padres actually could have exited the club early in the franchise’s history. On July 21, 1970, the Mets were beating the Padres 1-0, but Padres starter Clay Kirby still had a no-hitter going through eight innings. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, San Diego skipper Preston Gomez decided to pull Kirby for a pinch hitter, Cito Gaston. Gaston struck out, reliever Jack Baldschun gave up a ninth-inning leadoff single to Bud Harrelson and the Mets rallied to pad their lead to 3-0, which would be the final score.
Would Kirby have reached base and started a rally that would have given them a 2-1 lead and an eventual no-no win? Would Kirby have struck out, yet kept the no-hitter alive through the top of the ninth to set up a ninth-inning Padres walk-off victory? We’ll never know, and both clubs still have no no-no.
But the Padres have one more dubious distinction than the Mets. They’re the only Major League franchise without a no-hitter AND without a player hitting for the cycle.
The Mets may be void of a no-no, but they’ve had 9 cycles: Jim Hickman, Aug. 7, 1963; Tommie Agee, July 6, 1970; Mike Phillips, June 25, 1976; Keith Hernandez, July 4, 1985; Kevin McReynolds, Aug. 1, 1989; Alex Ochoa, July 3, 1996; John Olerud, Sept. 11, 1997; Eric Valent, July 29, 2004; Jose Reyes, June 21, 2006.
A small moral victory? Perhaps.