Brewers' no-hit history filled with close calls

Burnes and Hader end Milwaukee's drought

September 12th, 2021

The Brewers have provided their fans with exciting postseason runs and showcased some of baseball's greatest players over a history spanning more than 50 years. But the franchise is missing a history of no-hitters.

Founded as the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and moved to Milwaukee in 1970, the Brewers only had one no-hitter to their name entering the 2021 season, as well as a few one-hitters. Milwaukee's first no-hitter took place in 1987, when the franchise was still a member of the American League. The 34-year drought finally came to an end on Sept. 11, 2021, when ace Corbin Burnes and closer Josh Hader threw a combined no-no against the Indians in Cleveland. takes a look back at the Brewers' two no-hitters and a series of close calls.

Sept. 11, 2021: Corbin Burnes/Josh Hader
Brewers 3, Indians 0 (no-hitter)

The long-awaited second no-hitter in Brewers history may have been a combined effort, but it was no less impressive than it may have been otherwise. Starter Corbin Burnes threw 115 pitches over eight innings, striking out 14 batters and walking just one, before handing the ball to Josh Hader for the ninth. Hader added two more strikeouts of his own, and their 16 total stands as the third-most in any no-hitter, individual or combined, in AL/NL history.

As impressive as Burnes and Hader were in isolation, like most pitchers, they did get some help from stellar defense -- most notably the incredible catch Lorenzo Cain made to end the eighth inning and preserve the no-no.

April 15, 1987: Juan Nieves
Brewers 7, Orioles 0 (no-hitter)

When Juan Nieves threw a no-hitter against the Orioles in his second season in the Major Leagues, it looked like he had a long and fruitful career ahead of him. Instead, an arm injury limited him to three seasons and ended his career after the 1988 campaign and a 32-25 record.

While Nieves was out of baseball at age 23, his April 1987 no-no lives on. Not only is Nieves' no-hitter the Brewers' only to date, he was the second-youngest pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter, as well as the first Puerto Rican to throw one.

Pitch counts weren't kept in 1987, so there is no record of how many pitches Nieves threw against the Orioles, but he did walk five batters in the only no-hitter in baseball that year. He did need some help from his defense, coming in the form of outfielder Robin Yount, who made a game-saving diving catch in center field to preserve the no-hitter.


June 4, 2021: //
Brewers 5, D-backs 1 (one-hitter)

Peralta came within five outs of throwing a no-hitter on his 25th birthday. He held the D-backs hitless through 7 1/3 innings before Nick Ahmed singled on Peralta's 109th and final pitch of the night. Boxberger and Richards finished off the win with 1 1/3 perfect frames.

April 6, 2021: Freddy Peralta//
Brewers 4, Cubs 0 (one-hitter)

A couple of months before that D-backs start, Peralta pitched the first five innings of another one-hitter. A Kris Bryant double in the fourth inning did away with any suspense, but Peralta, Suter and Boxberger retired 16 of the 18 batters they faced after that lone knock.

July 29, 2020: //Devin Williams/
Brewers 3, Pirates 0 (one-hitter)

A swinging-bunt single in the first inning by Pittsburgh's Phillip Evans was all that separated the Brewers from making history at PNC Park in 2020. Woodruff was overpowering as he struck out 10 and allowed just two baserunners in 6 1/3 innings.

May 26, 2019: Brandon Woodruff/
Brewers 9, Phillies 1 (one-hitter)

Woodruff was just as good on the mound one year earlier against the Phillies, racking up 10 strikeouts over six innings. But he was better than Philadelphia's entire lineup at the plate. Woodruff went 2-for-3 and drove in a couple of runs. Philadelphia's one hit -- a sixth-inning homer by Andrew Knapp -- represented their only baserunner in the game.

May 7, 2011: /
Brewers 4, Cardinals 0 (one-hitter)

Gallardo, who went eight innings and walked four, allowed a leadoff single to Daniel Descalso in the eighth frame. Axford finished it off in the ninth and struck out two in the Brewers' win over the 2011 World Series champions.

Aug. 31, 2008:
Brewers 7, Pirates 0 (one-hitter)

The Brewers acquired Sabathia from the Indians on July 7, 2008, and he was dominant for Milwaukee, finishing the season 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 130 2/3 innings, as they chased a postseason run. The most memorable of his 17 starts for the Brewers came on a Sunday afternoon in August at PNC Park.

Sabathia threw a controversial one-hitter against Pittsburgh, the one hit coming on a checked swing by Andy LaRoche in the fifth inning on a ball that rolled fair and was bobbled by Sabathia. The Brewers lost an appeal to Major League Baseball on getting the call overturned.

Still, Sabathia threw his ninth complete game of the 2008 season against the Pirates in the 7-0 win.

July 28, 1997: Steve Woodard/Mike Fetters
Brewers 1, Blue Jays 0 (one-hitter)

Before recorded 13 strikeouts in his Major League debut in 2018, the honor of most impressive debut for a Brewers pitcher had to go to Steve Woodard in 1997.

Woodard never topped his Major League debut, maxing out at 11 wins in 1999.

But during his debut, he pitched eight innings and allowed one hit in a 1-0 win over the Blue Jays. Otis Nixon led off the game with a double for Toronto, but the Jays only had one more runner reach base (Alex Gonzalez's walk with one out in the third).

Mike Fetters finished the game in the ninth and earned the save for the Brewers, who only finished with four hits against Roger Clemens and scored in the fourth inning when Jeromy Burnitz drove in Jeff Cirillo with a single.

April 13, 1996: Steve Sparks/Graeme Lloyd
Royals 3, Brewers 2 (one-hitter)

The Brewers have actually even lost a one-hitter. That came on April 13, 1996, when Michael Tucker's fifth-inning three-run home run was the lone hit for Kansas City in a 3-2 win over Milwaukee.

Other than the homer, Steve Sparks was terrific, delivering an eight-inning performance. Graeme Lloyd pitched a perfect ninth, but the Brewers couldn't plate any runs beyond a home run from Greg Vaughn and RBI single by Turner Ward.

April 23, 1993: Cal Eldred/Jesse Orosco
Brewers 3, Rangers 0 (one-hitter)

In a swift 2 hours, 18 minutes, Cal Eldred worked around a one-out double to Rafael Palmeiro in the first inning to throw a combined one-hitter with Jesse Orosco, who earned his first save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.

Eldred finished with 10 strikeouts and only one walk, lowering his season ERA to 2.30 in the process. Eldred pitched 258 innings and started 36 games in 1993, both the most in the American League.

Sept. 1, 1987: Teddy Higuera
Brewers 2, Royals 0 (one-hitter)

Less than five months after Nieves broke through with the Brewers' first no-hitter, Teddy Higuera almost added another.

Higuera went the distance in a one-hitter, allowing a two-out triple to shortstop Ross Jones in the bottom of the eighth inning, just four outs away from a no-hitter.