The announced time for first pitch tonight was 7:07 local time.
First pitch was actually thrown at 8:45 local time.
The last pitch was thrown at 11:12 local time.
And through all of that time the Cincinnati Reds didn’t get a single hit.
There was a lot of waiting as the left field lights were malfunctioning, but it all proved to be worth it, as by the time the A’s hit the field they had a starting pitcher who was rearing to go.
Mike Fiers threw the 300th No-Hitter in MLB history.
Mike Fiers took advantage of the extra rest granted to him today, While he was throwing lots of pitches, he was effective quickly, throwing a perfect first three innings. The first baserunner for the Reds was Jesse Winkler reaching off of a rare Matt Chapman error in the 4th, but Fiers worked Puig for a fly out to end the inning right after. Fiers went back to work in the 5th, tallying another perfect inning. While his pitch count started climbing early, entering the 6th inning with over 80 pitches shown, Mike was able to keep the Reds at bay and only throw 9 pitches in a perfect 6th inning thanks to some defensive heroics.
A Kyle Farmer pop fly to no-man’s-land behind first base was caught by Jurickson Profar making a fantastic dive to pocket the ball, but the next pitch was followed up by an even more impressive save. Joey Votto received a first pitch curveball low in the zone and powered to drive to centre field. Enter Ramon Laureano who makes robbing home runs look easy, as he timed his jump perfectly to bring the ball back into the park and keep the game hitless through 6.
Things got a little shakier for Fiers in the 7th, as he gave a leadoff walk to Eugenio Suarez, the walk was erased as Mike’s 100th pitch was grounded into for a double play. Fiers then walked Puig after a long at-bat, but an infield pop out by Dietrich kept the Red’s hitless for the 7th inning in a row.
Fiers was naturally back up in the 8th, and pitched a quick inning, getting 2 ground outs and a fly out on 9 pitches to keep things tidy.
The Reds sent pitch hitter Josh VanMeter up to lead off the 9th for his third major league at-bat, and VanMeter popped out after 2 pitches. Votto was next and took Fiers to a full count before grounding out to Matt Olson. Eugenio Suarez was the Reds’ last hope, and while it took a couple high pitches, Fiers struck out Suarez to end the game and earn the second no-no of his career.
Of course Fiers’ pitching wasn't the only contributing factor to the win. Jurickson Profar had a 2 RBI night, and both runs mattered a lot.
In the 2nd inning Stephen Piscotty reached on a fielder’s choice that caught Kendrys Morales out at second base. Jurickson Profar came up to bat next and he blazed a line drive down the first base foul line and into the corner. The ball took a strange hop on Puig and Piscotty used this chance to motor his way down the base paths. Jurickson ended up with an RBI double as Piscotty managed to dodge an early swipe by Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, and make his efforts count and get the A’s on the board.
Profar came out in support of Fiers for the third time tonight in the 7th, as he knocked his third home run on the season looping over the wall in centre-right field to give a little extra run support.
Aside from Profar and Piscotty, there wasn't much other production, Matt Chapman struck out 4 times (though on close calls), Grossman and Morales both got singles, and Grossman nabbed a bag.
Tyler Mahle had a strong 6 inning performance for the Reds, striking out 8 and bringing his ERA below 4.00, but it wasn’t enough to best the A’s soft-tossing righty. This follows a trend for Mahle, as the Reds have managed to give him a total of 8 runs of support over the 39 innings he has now pitched this year. He receives his 5th loss of the season with tonight’s game, but that serves as a poor reflection of the work that he has put in.
Mike was definitely working his pitches tonight and mixing them well, using all of them as out pitches on his 6 strikeouts. Fiers hit pretty much every part of the zone, and while he took a lot of hitters into deep counts, he managed to work out of almost all of them aside from the 2 walks in the 7th.
While both starters passed the 100 pitch mark, the game moved along at a rapid pace, completed in less than 2 and a half hours.
The game ended on Fiers’ 131st pitch, 70 of those were 4-seamers, the fastest of which topped out at 92mph. While Fiers stayed consistent with fastballs through the zone, he favoured the bottom right corner. Josh Phegley did a great job of picking up everything Fiers was throwing, there were no passed balls or wild pitches, even as Fiers started missing fastballs 2 feet above the zone in the later parts of the game.
It was a wild night. The extensive delay before the game made it seem like the A’s may not even play tonight, but in the first game played in Oakland in May, the Athletics earn a huge win from a historic performance by Mike Fiers.
The A’s move to 16-21 and sit 5.5 games back from the Astros. Tomorrows game should be back at the regular start time, despite what Dave Kaval says, and will see Brett Anderson leading the Athletics as they face Sonny Gray making his return to the Oakland Coliseum.