(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Welcome to the No-Hitters Club, Chris Heston.
The Giants rookie righthander was masterful this evening at Citi-Field, dominating Mets batters in a brilliant 5-0 shutout, a 110-pitch (72 strikes) performance where the only Met runners were on base as a result of being hit by a Heston pitch. That was it. Heston was his own obstacle from a perfect game by clunking three Mets, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada in the fourth (ooh, a rally!), and Anthony Recker to lead off the ninth.
After not even yielding a walk, Heston appeared before the media with a post-game still-in-shock, can’t-believe-I-did-it kind of attitude. “I just tried to keep the ball down and let (my fielders) do the work,” Heston stated plainly. “I didn’t try to do too much, just throw strikes and follow what (Giants catcher) Buster (Posey) put down.”
Heston had never thrown a no-hitter previously, not in the minors, not in college, not in high school, and not in Little League. “This is a whole new experience…very exciting.”
This was, however, the third no-hitter caught by Posey – the last three no-hitters thrown by a Giant, including thos one and recent gems authored by Tim Lincecum in 2013 and 2014. Posey believes Heston is on his way to becoming a top-line pitcher. “It’s just a matter of trying to find out what kind of pitcher he’s going to be. Chris has shown he can make adjustments on the go. He’s going to find that groove more often than not.”
Heston was “groovin’” against Mets batters allright, the seventh hurler to toss a no-hitter against the Mets, and the first one since Daryl Kile did so for Houston on Sept. 8, 1993. Others to keep Mets batters (can’t call them hitters when they don’t get one) off the hit column include the great Sandy Koufax (June 30, 1962), the perfecto by Jim Bunning on Father’s Day in 1964, Bob Moose (Sept. 20, 1969), Bill Stoneman (Oct. 2, 1972), and the Giants’ Ed Halicki (Aug. 24, 1975).
This was now the second no-hitter logged at Citi-Field in its short seven-year history, the first of which being the now legendary first no-hitter by a Met when Johan Santana completed the task on June 12, 2012. It was a moment, allright, but in fairness, some say tainted, as a ball hit by old friend Carlos Beltran as a Cardinal that evening went down the left field line and might have been called a hit had reply been in use.
Heston completed the 17th no-hitter in Giants history. The first of which goes back all the way to 1891, when Amos Rusie no-hit the Brooklyn Bridgrooms (Wonder how they got that surname, and that’s when the Giants were still a New York ballclub). But here’s the irony. That first Giants no-hitter was an “answer” to being no-hit for the first time by the very same Bridgrooms just five weeks earlier. (Wonder who caught the bouquet?)
Heston’s personal highlight also stands a momentous occasion for Giants manager Bruce Bochy. The 33rd win this season for the World Champion Giants became the 700th win as a Giants manager for their skipper, a one-time Met himself.
In just his 13th major league start, 12th of the season, Heston racked up 11 strikeouts, closing out the ninth with three punchouts on called strikes to secure the no-hitter. The 6’3” Floridian native came into the game with a 5-4 record and a 4.29 ERA. He made his major league debut just last September, and was recalled again on April 8 when Giants starter Matt Cain went on the DL.
Lost in the hoopla was the notion that heralded Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard tossed another so-so game. He was hitting mid and upper 90s on the gun, but the Giants bruised him for 10 hits in six innings and four earned runs. He yielded a home run to Matt Duffy, and picked up just two Ks (one walk). He now owns with a 2-4 record (4.15 ERA) in his rookie campaign.
The Mets are now 31-28 on the season, but still in first place, thanks in part to the Yankees beating the Washington Nationals up in the Bronx, 6-1.
Next up in Citi-Field, Matt Harvey vs. Tim Hudson. Hits might still be in short supply on both sides.