CINCINNATI -- St. Louis starter Austin Gomber couldn't do much but stand on the mound and wait as he gazed at the flickering lights and listened to the echo of an emergency alarm sounding across Great American Ball Park in Tuesday's 4-2 over the Reds.The Cardinals pitcher -- making his
CINCINNATI -- St. Louis starter Austin Gomber couldn't do much but stand on the mound and wait as he gazed at the flickering lights and listened to the echo of an emergency alarm sounding across Great American Ball Park in Tuesday's 4-2 over the Reds.
The Cardinals pitcher -- making his first MLB start -- took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh inning. As he warmed up to begin the seventh, fire alarms began to blare. The noise coupled with the flashing lights delayed the game by just over seven minutes as the Cincinnati Fire Department rushed to turn the alarms off.
It was later determined the alarm went off due to a malfunction in one of the detector units, according to the Reds.
Marcell Ozuna took a seat in the grass in the outfield during the wait, and Joey Votto fell to a knee. Gomber moved around and tried to stay loose during the delay. After a brief discussion with home plate umpire James Hoye, Gomber was headed toward the Cardinals dugout when the siren stopped, and he quickly reversed back toward the mound.
"At first, I didn't know what was going on," Gomber said. "Then, the umpire told me I could sit down, do whatever I want, I'd have time to warm up after that. Then, I saw everything flash and figured something wasn't working." Both dugouts looked perplexed as to what was happening, as did the fans in the seats.
"I'm sure that wasn't something anyone in the ballpark wanted to have happen," Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt said. "No explanation. I talked to the umpiring crew, and they said they'd look into it. It was probably just one of those things, but pretty odd timing."
The delay created an awkward pause in Gomber's gem, and the hopes of a no-hitter were dashed shortly after the sirens shut off. He gave up a one-out base hit to Votto, then a game-tying, two-run homer to Eugenio Suarez three pitches later. Gomber was pulled from the game with the score tied 2-2 after Suarez's blast and left with a no-decision and perhaps a bizarre story to tell down the road.
"First time I've seen that in my life," Suarez said. "It's crazy. But I like it because it's good for us. We broke up the no-hitter and we tied the game in that inning.
Gomber didn't cast blame on the alarm for breaking up the no-hitter. He gave Suarez credit for hitting a good pitch and even suggested the pause in action helped him.
"I don't know if it affected the groove," Gomber said. "Even the home run pitch I thought wasn't a bad pitch. I came [to the dugout] and looked at it, and it was a pretty good pitch. I'm not going to blame giving up a home run on a delay. If anything, I think it helped me, because I was just on the bases. It gave me a little more time to catch my breath."
After the inning ended, the Reds had some fun with the situation. Billy Joel's famous song "We Didn't Start The Fire" played over the loudspeakers as the Cardinals jogged off the field.
Brian Rippee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.