Oakland ace Sean Manaea tossed the first no-hitter of the 2018 season, getting some help from an overturned call in the A's 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Manaea masterful performance saw the left hander strike out 10 batters and walk just two as he clinched the no-hitter by getting Red Sox designated hitter Hanley Ramirez to bounce into a forced out at second in the ninth inning.
"Oh man, my heart was beating out of my chest," Manaea said.
Boston appeared to get a hit in the sixth inning when Andrew Benintendi smacked a ground ball to the right side of the infield in front of the crowd of 35,000 at the Oakland Coliseum. He sprinted to first where he tried to swerve to avoid A's first baseman Matt Olson's tag.
Initially Benintendi was called safe but the umpires conferenced on the field and it was ruled that the Red Sox runner illegally ran into foul territory to try and avoid the tag from Olson.
Manaea tossed the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season and the first against the Red Sox since 1993.
The Red Sox had the second longest streak (3,987 games) without surrendering a no-hitter, dating back 25 years when Seattle's Chris Bosio no hit them. Oakland is the only team with a longer streak.
It was the seventh no-hitter in A's franchise history and the first since Dallas Braden did it against Tampa Bay eight years ago.
"I just kept telling myself, keep everything the same, and not let anything get too big for me," the 26-year-old American Manaea said.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora was unhappy with the umpires' decision to call Benintendi out.
"Do I agree with it? No," Cora said. "It is what it is."
Benintendi was fuming after the call was reversed.
"It's just a missed call," he said.
After the game the officials released a statement saying: "If he goes more than three feet avoiding the tag, he's declared out. He was more than three feet away."
- 'Best-executed game' -
Manaea's feat was all the more special because he was able to strongarm the hottest team. The Red Sox had won 17 of their last 19 games but he slashed his way through their batter order like a knife through butter.
"I told him, 'I've caught a lot of pitchers in eight years in this league and that was the most well-pitched, best-executed game I've ever had behind the plate,'" catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.
Manaea walked the first batter he faced but then settled in, getting the next 14 consecutive batters out.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Red Sox Sandy Leon reached base when A's shortstop Marcus Semien bobbled a pop fly. The umpires ruled it an error.
Manaea was so focused on throwing strikes that he didn't pay attention to the call and just assumed his no-hitter ended there. It wasn't until a few innings later that he caught on.
"I didn't even think about it until I looked up in the seventh or eighth," Manaea said, "and I was like, 'Oh my God, why is there still a zero on there?'"
"So after that, my adrenaline started pumping a little bit again, and I really wanted to finish this thing out."
He also got some help from the Athletics' batters. Semien blasted a home run and Stephen Piscotty and Jed Lowrie delivered RBI doubles.
© 2018 AFP