ARLINGTON, Texas — A long-time member of the Friar Faithful, Joe Musgrove knew all about San Diego’s no-hitter history.
There wasn’t any.
Musgrove, the 28-year-old pitcher who grew up just down the road in El Cajon, California, threw the Padres’ first no-hitter — in the team’s 8,206th regular-season game — allowing only one baserunner in a 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
San Diego had been the only active MLB franchise without a no-hitter.
“It’s awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform,” said Musgrove, who had never thrown a no-hitter at any level. “To have it be the first in the history of the franchise, that’s incredible.”
It was only his second start for the Padres — a team that started playing in 1969, for which his family has long had season tickets, and for which he now wears No. 44 to honor former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, one of his favorite players growing up.
Musgrove (2-0) struck out 10 and faced 28 batters, one over the minimum. He threw 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes.
“I wasn’t coming out of that game. I knew once I gave up the hit, I expected that would be my night, and I’d be all right with that,” he said. “I was just so locked in. I had no intention of coming out of that game.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler let Musgrove go the distance because he was so efficient — and knowing what it would mean to have a hometown player end the franchise’s no-hitter drought in its 53rd season.
“I think in a way that makes it, if it can be any sweeter, any more special for him, to do it growing up in San Diego and this being his team, it’s about the perfect story written,” Tingler said.
The only Rangers baserunner was Joey Gallo, who was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth inning. Jose Trevino had a hard lineout to right field for the final out of the eighth, and pinch-hitter David Dahl ripped the first out of the ninth right at second baseman Jake Cronenworth. Isiah Kiner-Falefa made the final out, a routien grounder to short.
“There was like three different scenarios where I thought I lost it,” said Musgrove, who described himself as “freaking exhausted.”
Musgrove is in his sixth major league season. He previously pitched for Houston (2016-17) and Pittsburgh (2018-20) and never had thrown a complete game in his previous 84 career starts.
It was the first no-hitter in the majors this season and only the second complete game.
The majors’ last no-hitter was thrown by the Chicago Cubs’ Alec Mills on Sept. 13, 2020 against Milwaukee. His catcher was Victor Caratini, who was also behind the plate for Musgrove.
Caratini is the first starting catcher in MLB history to work consecutive no-hitters MLB-wide for different teams, according to Elias Sports. There are 10 other instances of a starting catcher catching consecutive no-hitters in the big leagues, but all of those were for the same team.
San Diego acquired Musgrove as part of a seven-player, three-team trade on Jan. 19. The big righty pitched for Pittsburgh last season.
In his debut for San Diego, which came at home last Saturday, he struck out eight in six scoreless innings against Arizona. He had no walks in winning that game, when he threw 57 of 78 pitches for strikes.
It was the fourth time a no-hitter was thrown against the Rangers. The last had been by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox on April 18, 2007.
According to Baseball-Reference, there had been 307 no-hitters in MLB history before Musgrove and the Padres. That included 293 individual no-hitters and 14 combined no-nos.
The Padres had their share of close calls the past 52 seasons. They came within one out twice, most recently on a combined bid started by Aaron Harang against the Dodgers on July 9, 2011. Juan Uribe ended that no-hitter with a double off Luke Gregerson, then scored a batter later in a 1-0 LA win.
This was the fourth no-hitter thrown in Arlington, the first thrown in their second-year stadium where the Padres played the NL Division Series last season. The last no-hitter in Arlington had been Kenny Rogers’ perfect game for Texas against the Angels on July 28, 1994, the first season of the former Rangers ballpark that still stands across the street from Globe Life Field, where the retractable roof was closed Friday night.
“I think he threw all his pitches well. He threw them all for strikes. He attacked the zone. Did what he was supposed to do,” said Trevino, the Rangers catcher.
Wil Myers put the Padres ahead to stay in the second inning with his RBI double, then scored from second base on Tommy Pham’s flyout to deep right-center to make it 2-0 against Kohei Arihara (0-1).
Arihara made his first start for the Rangers after pitching the last six seasons in Japan. He allowed five hits and three runs (two earned) over four innings. He threw only 73 pitches.
The double by Myers got Eric Hosmer home from first base, though it took a replay review of nearly two minutes for the safe call to stand. Hosmer got his left hand on the plate about the same time catcher Trevino’s sweeping tag got him on the shoulder.
Myers raced home after after Pham’s flyball was caught by Leody Taveras on the track in front of Rangers bullpen in right-center. Taveras made a clear catch, but when he turned to throw the ball back in, he scooped it out of his glove and it rolled away from him.