Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills threw the second no-hitter of the season Sunday afternoon, blanking the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a 12-0 victory. It marked the 16th no-hitter in Cubs franchise history, and the first since 2016.
Here are six things to know about Mills and his special afternoon.
1. Punctuates low-frills season
Mills, who will turn 29 years old in November, was making his ninth start of the season. In his previous eight outings, he had accumulated a 4.74 ERA (96 ERA+) and had averaged eight hits per nine innings and 2.29 strikeouts per walk. He was, in other words, having a solid year, but not one that was going to be remembered in five years' time. That changed on Sunday.
2. Comes without fireworks
Mills required 114 pitches on the afternoon and walked three batters. He managed just five strikeouts and generated only five swinging strikes. His fastest pitch was clocked at 91 mph, while his slowest check in at 66 mph. He threw more than 60 percent four-seamers and sinkers. The final out saw Jace Peterson ground out to the shortstop on a 3-1 pitch.
The rule of thumb is that every no-hitter includes a memorable defensive play, or a magical sequence. That wasn't the case here, really. Mills just kept getting outs until he had 27 on the afternoon.
3. Arrived without fanfare
Here's one to tuck away for future trivia nights. The Cubs originally acquired Mills from the Kansas City Royals in a small trade in February 2017. The player they gave up in that deal was Donnie Dewees, who had rejoined the Cubs organization last year after reaching as high as Triple-A in the Royals system. Suffice to say, the Cubs got the better end of that one.
4. The 16th in franchise history
Mills' no-no is the 16th in Cubs history, and the first second Jake Arrieta's in April 2016. That happened to be Arrieta's second with Chicago. Prior to Mills' gem, the last non-Arrieta Cubs pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Carlos Zambrano, who did it against the Houston Astros in 2008. Coincidentally, that game was also played at Miller Park because of Hurricane Ike.
5. Cubs offense delivered total-lineup effort
The Cubs' offense provided Mills with ample run support. Chicago's lineup plated five runs in the fourth inning, then added another four in the fifth. Despite the offensive outburst, the Cubs didn't do much in terms of slugging. David Bote provided the game's only home run, while no Cubs player drove in more than three runs or delivered multiple extra-base hits.
6. Chicago makes history
You might recall that Chicago White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito threw the season's first no-hitter a few weeks ago against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mills' no-no means this the first time in the history of the sport that both Chicago franchises have had a pitcher throw a no-hitter in the same season.