In less than three months Major League Baseball has tied the Modern Era record for no-hitters in a season. Thursday night, Chicago Cubs righty Zach Davies and three relievers blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers and threw MLB's seventh no-hitter of 2021 (CHC 4, LAD 0). That does not include Madison Bumgarner's .
Davies was not razor sharp in his six no-hit innings. He had more walks (five) than strikeouts (four), and only twice did he have a 1-2-3 inning. According to Statcast, Davies allowed three balls in play that had better than a 50/50 chance to go for a hit based on exit velocity and launch angle. Kris Bryant made several sparkling plays at third base to preserve the no-hitter.
Cubs manager David Ross removed Davies after six innings and 94 pitches. Chicago's bullpen has been lights out most of the year and relievers Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin, and Craig Kimbrel combined to keep Los Angeles out of the hit column the final three innings. Kimbrel struck out Will Smith for the final out of the game.
"It worked. I can't complain at all," Davies joked during his postgame Zoom call about being removed after six no-hit innings. Kimbrel said he "had no idea (it was a no-hitter) until the last out" during an on-field interview after the game.
Albert Pujols struck out for the second out of the ninth inning and, amazingly, this is the first time his team has ever been no-hit. This is Pujols' 21st MLB season and Thursday was his 2,992nd career game, postseason included. Also, the Dodgers are the first defending World Series champion to be no-hit since the 2013 Giants were no-hit by Homer Bailey on July 2.
"I don't know if I've ever been as nervous in the ninth with a four-run lead and two outs with Craig Kimbrel on the mound than I was at that moment," Ross said during his postgame Zoom call. "... I want to point out a lot of credit too goes to Willson Contreras, who grinded his tail off back there tonight calling the game."
Ross is the third person to catch a no-hitter and manage multiple hitters, joining Bill Carrigan and Mike Scioscia, according to YES Network researcher James Smyth. As a player, Ross caught Jake Arrieta's no-hitter against the Reds on April 21, 2016. He also managed Alec Mills' no-hitter against the Brewers last Sept. 13.
The offense supported Davies & Co. with a Javier Báez solo home run in the first inning and a Contreras two-run home run in the sixth. The Cubs later added an insurance run against the Los Angeles bullpen. The no-hitter snapped Walker Buehler's Dodgers record 30-start streak without taking a loss, postseason included. Thursday was Buehler's first loss since Sept. 21, 2019.
Los Angeles drew eight walks while striking out only seven times in the no-hitter. That is the most walks in a no-hitter since Edwin Jackson's eight-walk no-hitter for the Diamondbacks against the Rays on June 25, 2010. The Dodgers are only the 10th team in history to draw at least eight walks while being no-hit.
"When something like this happens, you want it to sting a little bit," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said during his postgame Zoom call.
The no-hitter is the 17th in Cubs history and the first since Mills no-hit the Brewers last September. It's the first combined no-hitter in Cubs history. The Dodgers have now been no-hit 14 times, including nine times since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. Prior to Thursday, the Dodgers were last no-hit by Arrieta, then with the Cubs, on Aug. 30, 2015.
The seven no-hitters this year are tied with 1990, 1991, 2012, and 2015 for the most in a single season since the American League and National League merged in 1903. The all-time record is eight no-hitters way back in 1884, before the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893.
MLB's foreign substance crackdown began earlier this week and all pitchers in Thursday's no-hitter were checked in accordance with the new enforcement rules.
Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson received his 2020 World Series ring prior to Thursday's game. Pederson played for the Dodgers from 2014-20.