CLEVELAND (AP) — Milwaukee ace Corbin Burnes combined with reliever Josh Hader to pitch baseball’s record ninth no-hitter this season, breaking a mark set when pitchers began throwing overhand in 1884 as the Brewers beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0 on Saturday night.
Burnes (10-4) struck out 14 with 115 pitches over eight innings, taking a perfect game into the seventh while overpowering the Indians, who were no-hit for the third time in 2021. This time is was by Burnes — who has become a Cy Young contender as the Brewers run away with the NL Central — and Hader, one of the game’s top closers.
Cleveland is the first team to be no-hit three times in the same year — all of them with starter Zach Plesac (10-5) on the mound.
The right-handed Burnes was in control from the start, striking out 11 of his first 14 hitters and retiring the first 18 in order. After walking Myles Straw to start the seventh, the 26-year-old got through the eighth thanks to a diving catch by center fielder Lorenzo Cain on Owen Miller’s liner.
The Progressive Field crowd booed as Hader came on in the ninth. He overpowered Oscar Mercado, striking him out to start the inning. Then, first baseman Jace Peterson went into foul territory to making a lunging catch for the second out.
Hader ended the no-hitter by getting Straw to flail at a pitch in the dirt. The Brewers stormed the field to share hugs and high-fives with a signature victory in their runaway season.
Juan Nieves pitched the Brewers’ previous no-hitter on April 15, 1987, at Baltimore.
Arizona rookie Tyler Gilbert had thrown the majors’ most recent no-hitter on Aug. 14, and the Chicago Cubs threw the only previous combined effort on June 24. The other no-hitters this season were thrown by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (April 9), Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Cincinnati’s Wade Miley (May 7), Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull (May 18) and the Yankees’ Corey Kluber (May 19).
Most of those gems were thrown before MLB cracked down on the use of sticky foreign substances by pitchers in late June.
The no-hitters by Miley and Rodón both came against the Indians, as did a seven-inning no-hitter by Tampa Bay on July 7 that didn’t officially count in the Major League Baseball record book. Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner also had a seven-inning no-hitter in the second game of a doubleheader at Atlanta on April 25.
The Brewers completed this bit of history three days after Minnesota rookie Joe Ryan retired the first 19 Indians batters in a 3-0 win at Progressive Field.
Plesac couldn’t get his head around being on the wrong side of three no-hitters. Prior to Saturday, Jim Perry was the only starter in baseball history to have his opponent throw a no-hitter three times in a career prior to Saturday
“I don’t even know if that makes sense to me,” Plesac said. “That’s insane. I don’t know if it’s me or what.”
Plesac allowed three runs, two earned, over six innings.
The Brewers scored twice in the first inning on an RBI double by Christian Yelich and a sacrifice fly from Omar Narváez. Milwaukee made it 3-0 in the second when Rowdy Tellez doubled home Daniel Vogelbach.
Tellez experienced right knee pain while running the bases and left the game.
Peterson returned to action after being struck by a foul ball on his left arm Wednesday in the home dugout against Philadelphia. Manager Craig Counsell said Peterson was hit squarely by a line drive off the bat of a Phillies player, but the ball narrowly missed hitting his elbow.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (flu-like symptoms) will not make his scheduled start Sunday after becoming ill in the team hotel. Counsell said Woodruff “has lost some weight from the bug,” pushing his next outing to Wednesday at Detroit.
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (right shoulder strain) threw a bullpen session before the game and will be evaluated Sunday. Acting manager DeMarlo Hale said the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner could begin a rehab assignment as early as Tuesday.
Brewers: LHP Eric Lauer (5-5, 3.18 ERA) will start on regular rest in the three-game series finale, moving up one spot in the rotation to replace Woodruff. The Northeast Ohio native and Kent State product has never pitched against the Indians.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (10-3, 3.25 ERA) makes his second start since spending 77 days on the injured list with a sprained third finger on his right hand. Civale allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings in his return, losing to the Twins on Sept. 7.