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John Means fires no-hitter as the Baltimore Orioles top the Seattle Mariners

May 5, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means (47) and catcher Pedro Severino (28) celebrate following the final out of a no-hit 6-0 victory against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

John Means pitched Baltimore’s first no-hitter in 30 years and the organization’s first no-hitter by a lone pitcher since Jim Palmer in 1969, and the Orioles defeated the host Seattle Mariners 6-0 Wednesday afternoon.

Pat Valaika and Trey Mancini homered for Baltimore, which took two of three games in the series.

“I can’t put it into words right now; it’s unbelievable,” Means said immediately afterward on the MASN broadcast. “I don’t even know what to say to be honest with you. I felt OK all game. I didn’t really have the changeup until the end and I’m glad I got it.”

Means (4-0) faced 27 batters but was not quite perfect in matching his career-high with 12 strikeouts.

The only baserunner Means allowed came on a strikeout. With one out in the bottom of the third, Seattle’s Sam Haggerty swung and missed a 1-2 pitch low and in the dirt. The ball skipped past catcher Pedro Severino and went all the way to the backstop, allowing Haggerty to reach first base without a throw on the wild pitch.

Haggerty was erased on the bases when he was caught stealing.

“That was my biggest pitch today, was that fastball in,” said Means, who threw a first-pitch strike to 26 of the 27 batters he faced. “I have to be able to do that to get the changeup away working. (Catcher Pedro Severino) called a great game today. Unbelievable.”

Baltimore’s most recent no-hitter came July 13, 1991, at Oakland when Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined to accomplish the feat.

The closest the Mariners came to a hit came with Kyle Lewis leading off the eighth inning. Lewis hit a high drive to left field, but the Orioles’ Austin Hays made the catch up against the wall.

Means got Seattle’s J.P. Crawford to hit a weak liner to shortstop Ramon Urias for the final out before the left-hander was mobbed on the mound by teammates.

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Seattle left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (1-2).

Maikel Franco lined the first pitch of the inning into left field for a single before being erased as Ryan Mountcastle grounded into a fielder’s choice. Valaika struck out, but Mountcastle advanced to second on a wild pitch. DJ Stewart beat the shift, grounding a single into left field to get the Orioles on the scoreboard and he advanced to second on the throw home. Urias lined a single into left field to make it 2-0.

It remained that way until the seventh, when Valaika lined a two-out pitch just inside the foul pole down the left-field line for his first home run of the season.

The Orioles added three runs in the eighth off Mariners left-hander Aaron Fletcher.

With one out, Cedric Mullins grounded a single into right field and Austin Hays lined a single to left. Mancini followed by hitting a three-run shot to left field, his sixth homer of the year.

Kikuchi, who flirted with a no-hitter in his last start against Houston, went seven innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out seven.

Means’ no-hitter was the third thrown in the majors this season, following San Diego’s Joe Musgrove and the Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Rodon.

–Field Level Media