Lefty Tyler Gilbert throws 3rd no-hitter in D-backs history in 1st MLB start
Aug 14, 2021, 9:46 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2021, 7:20 am
PHOENIX — Never tell Tyler Gilbert the odds. One year ago, the 27-year-old left-hander was throwing bullpens for his high school varsity baseball coach in his hometown and doing electrical work with his father to make ends meet.
On Saturday in his first career major league start, the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher threw the fourth no-hitter in MLB history by a pitcher making their first MLB start and the third no-hitter in D-backs franchise history in a 7-0 victory over the San Diego Padres at Chase Field.
“It was just kind of a rush the whole time to be honest,” Gilbert said on this historic experience.
The former sixth-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies and a 2020 Rule 5 pick by the D-backs is the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his starting debut since Bobo Holloman in 1953.
He’s also the first D-backs pitcher to ever throw a no-no at the friendly confines of Chase Field.
“I knew it was happening, but my whole goal tonight was to just get deep in the game,” Gilbert added. “It was my first start as a big leaguer, so I wasn’t even thinking about that at all. But it did hit me in the fifth or the sixth.
“But my goal was just to get deep in the game and luckily it worked out.”
“I don’t even know where to start,” manager Torey Lovullo said on the night. “It was an unbelievable moment for Tyler, an unbelievable moment for his teammates, this organization.”
“You’re always looking for those type of exciting moments, and it’s magnified obviously because of the year we’re having, so for us to pushback everything and have one special day and an incredible moment like that, it was an incredible moment for everybody.”
After walking left fielder Tommy Pham to lead off the game, Gilbert pitched masterfully, recording nine outs in a row before walking Pham again to lead off the fourth. In both instances, he got the following batter second baseman Adam Frazier to hit into a base clearing double play.
His reflexes on a comebacker off the bat of Eric Hosmer in the fifth was reminiscent of a Jedi on Star Wars Night at Chase Field, but the same could be said about his overall performance.
With his pitch count climbing, Gilbert was helped out by a three pitch eighth inning that seemed surreal considering the circumstances and made Lovullo’s decision to let him come back out in the ninth that much easier.
“I was probably the most uptight guy after the sixth inning because I knew everything that was lining up pretty good,” Lovullo added.
“He’s supposed to be right in that 90-pitch range, but there was a buildup. There was extended outings in Triple-A, and as we know, his role had changed a little bit over the past couple of outings here at the big-league level.”
“I had negotiated a 105-pitch limit, and I had a lot of conversations for the last three innings with people around me that I trust a lot and I was probably going to push the envelope a little bit knowing it was potentially going to be a very special day for him.”
Gilbert lasted all nine innings with all zeros across the board. He walked Pham three times and struck out five.
The Force was strong with the rest of Lovullo’s scruffy-looking nerf herders as well as they put on an offensive show that started right after the opening crawl against the Padres.
Arizona scored five runs in the first inning on five hits that was capped off by a three-run homer by third baseman Drew Ellis.
D-backs second baseman Josh Van Meter was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored while birthday boy David Peralta was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Stormtroopers might miss, but the D-backs offense did not against Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove. They put up six runs and 10 hits on him before he exited the game after five innings pitched.
Josh Rojas chipped in an RBI triple in the fifth after replacing Asdrubal Cabrera at first base in the second inning. Cabrera was tossed after arguing balls and strikes and who shot first with home plate umpire Scott Barry in the bottom of the first.
Gilbert credited the cushion provided by the offense early on for allowing him to be aggressive.
“I think the biggest inning for me was to put up a zero after we put up five,” he said. “That’s something that (Fetters) was telling me in the dugout. He’s like ‘We need a zero out of you this inning after putting up five against them’. So, a shutdown inning was huge. I was happy with it.”
The night belonged to Gilbert, who makes MLB history with his parents in the stands watching him in this moment. He said oddly that he wasn’t nervous coming back out in the ninth.
“It was weird. I like wasn’t nervous at all, and I felt like should have been. I don’t know why. I just kept going out there and doing my thing.
“I was really nervous before the game, leading up to the game. After the three pitch eighth inning, I was like ‘OK this is possibly going to happen’. But no, I just stayed levelheaded and kept making pitches.”
The D-backs will go for the four-game sweep on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Zac Gallen will start for Arizona and is looking for his first win since April 25 against the Atlanta Braves, which is his only win of the season. He is 1-6 with a 4.87 ERA and a 1.346 WHIP in 14 starts this year.