The best no-hitter follow-ups in history

June 15th, 2022

It's the anniversary of one of baseball's unique feats: Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters.

On this day in 1938, Vander Meer became the first -- and still the only -- pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-no in back-to-back starts. After throwing his first no-no on June 11 against the Boston Bees, the Reds southpaw threw another one four days later, on June 15 against the Dodgers.

The best way to follow up a no-hitter is obviously ... to throw another no-hitter. Vander Meer set the gold standard there. But plenty of other pitchers have followed up a no-no with another gem in their next start.

Here are the best no-hitter follow-ups in MLB history.

1) Johnny Vander Meer, Reds -- June 15, 1938
No-hitter: June 11, 1938, vs. Boston Bees
Follow-up: No-hitter vs. Dodgers

The king of all no-hitter follow-ups: a second straight no-hitter. Vander Meer is the only pitcher in MLB history to throw back-to-back no-hitters. The first came against the Boston Bees on June 11, 1938, the second against the Dodgers on June 15. Vander Meer's feat might stand alone forever.

2) Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals -- 2014 NLDS Game 2
No-hitter: Sept. 28, 2014, vs. Marlins
Follow-up: 8 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 6 K vs. Giants

Zimmermann threw his no-hitter in his final start of the regular season in 2014, but the Nationals were in the playoffs, so there was a postseason follow-up. And what a follow-up. In Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants, Zimmermann took a shutout into the ninth inning as Washington clung to a 1-0 lead, and he got the Nats to within the final out. But manager Matt Williams took him out for closer Drew Storen to try to seal the win, and Storen allowed the game-tying double to Pablo Sandoval. The Nationals would end up falling in 18 innings, one of the most crushing losses in franchise history, but that takes nothing away from Zimmermann's masterpiece.

3) Nolan Ryan, Astros -- Oct. 1, 1981
No-hitter: Sept. 26, 1981, vs. Dodgers
Follow-up: 9 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 9 K, CG vs. Reds

One of Ryan's best follow-ups came after the fifth of his record seven no-hitters, his only one with the Astros. In his last start of the year, Ryan tossed a one-run, nine-strikeout complete game to beat the Reds, who the Astros were fighting for the second-half NL West title in the strike-shortened 1981 season. Houston edged Cincinnati for a playoff spot by 1 1/2 games.

4) Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- June 24, 2014
No-hitter: June 18, 2014, vs. Rockies
Follow-up: 8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 8 K vs. Royals

Kershaw threw maybe the most dominant no-hitter ever -- he struck out 15 and would have been perfect if not for a Hanley Ramirez error. The Dodgers ace followed up that game with eight scoreless innings of eight-strikeout baseball on the road against a Royals team that would go on to win the AL pennant.

5) Randy Johnson, Mariners -- June 7, 1990
No-hitter: June 2, 1990, vs. Tigers
Follow-up: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 10 K, CG vs. White Sox

On June 2, 1990, the Big Unit threw the first no-hitter of his career and the first in Mariners history. But he was arguably even more dominant in his next start, a complete-game one-run win over the 94-win White Sox. Johnson struck out eight in his no-hitter … in his next start, he struck out 10. In his no-hitter, he issued six walks … in his next start, he only walked one.

6) Cy Young, Red Sox -- May 11, 1904
No-hitter: May 5, 1904, vs. Athletics
Follow-up: 15 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 5 K, SHO vs. Tigers

The man pitching's highest award is named for had one of the best no-hitter follow-ups ever all the way back in 1904. After no-hitting the Athletics on May 5, Young pitched a 15-inning shutout against the Tigers on May 11. It's among the longest shutout victories in the modern era. Imagine such a thing happening today.

7) Tim Lincecum, Giants -- July 1, 2014
No-hitter: June 25, 2014, vs. Padres
Follow-up: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 K vs. Cardinals

The Giants fan favorite threw the second no-hitter of his career in 2014, and was nearly as untouchable in his following start, too. Facing a Cardinals team in a postseason preview -- the Giants would eliminate St. Louis in the NLCS on their way to a World Series championship -- Lincecum fired eight shutout innings, allowed only four hits and struck out six.

8) Sal Maglie, Dodgers -- Sept. 29, 1956
No-hitter: Sept. 25, 1956, vs. Phillies
Follow-up: 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 6 K, CG vs. Pirates

Maglie came up huge for the Dodgers to close out the 1956 season. In his second-to-last start, he no-hit the Phillies. In his last start, with two days left in the season and Brooklyn locked in a pennant race, he pitched a complete-game victory over the Pirates. The Dodgers took the lead in the standings that day and won the pennant by a game over the Braves.

9) Max Scherzer, Nationals -- June 26, 2015
No-hitter: June 20, 2015, vs. Pirates
Follow-up: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 9 K vs. Phillies

Scherzer threw two no-hitters in 2015, but there was no follow-up to the second one since it was on the second-to-last day of the season. After the first one, though (the perfect game he lost on a hit-by-pitch with two outs in the ninth), he followed up with eight dominant innings against the division rival Phillies to notch his 100th career win.

10) Sandy Koufax, Dodgers -- May 15, 1963
No-hitter: May 11, 1963, vs. Giants
Follow-up: 12 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 12 K, CG vs. Phillies

After the second of his four career no-hitters -- a game in which he outdueled Juan Marichal -- Koufax took the mound at Dodger Stadium against the Phillies and fired a 12-inning, two-run, 12-strikeout complete-game victory.

11) Justin Verlander, Tigers -- May 13, 2011
No-hitter: May 7, 2011, vs. Blue Jays
Follow-up: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 7 K vs. Royals

This was the follow-up to the second of Verlander's three no-hitters. It came during the 2011 season, when he won both the AL Cy Young and MVP Awards. The then-Tigers ace no-hit the Blue Jays on May 7, then held the Royals to two hits and one run in eight innings just six days later. He struck out seven -- three more than in his no-no.

12) Howard Ehmke, Red Sox -- Sept. 11, 1923
No-hitter: Sept. 7, 1923, vs. Athletics
Follow-up: One-hitter vs. Yankees

Ehmke came incredibly close to pitching back-to-back no-hitters. He followed up his no-no against the Philadelphia Athletics on Sept. 7, 1923, with a one-hitter against Babe Ruth and the future World Series-champion Yankees on Sept. 11. Ehmke allowed a single to the first batter he faced, then didn't allow another hit the rest of the game.

13) Sean Manaea, A's -- April 27, 2018
No-hitter: April 21, 2018, vs. Red Sox
Follow-up: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 7 K vs. Astros

Manaea no-hit the eventual World Series-champion Red Sox and then followed it up by shutting down the reigning World Series-champion Astros, throwing seven innings and allowing just an unearned run. By holding Houston hitless for the first three innings of that game, he set the A's franchise record for consecutive no-hit innings at 14, passing Blue Moon Odom.

14) Jake Arrieta, Cubs -- Sept. 5, 2015
No-hitter: Aug. 30, 2015, vs. Dodgers
Follow-up: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 7 K vs. D-backs

Arrieta's crowning achievement on the way to the NL Cy Young Award was his 12-strikeout no-hitter against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but the follow-up was also a gem: eight scoreless innings with seven K's against the D-backs. So was every game he pitched down the stretch -- Arrieta had a 0.86 ERA over his final 20 starts of that season.

15) Nolan Ryan, Angels -- May 19, 1973
No-hitter: May 15, 1973, vs. Royals
Follow-up: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 12 K, CG vs. Rangers

The first no-hitter of Ryan's career came on May 15, 1973, a 12-strikeout no-no against the Royals. The start after that, he beat the Rangers with a four-hit, one-run, 12-strikeout complete game. Between the two games, Ryan threw 18 innings of one-run, four-hit, 24-strikeout ball.

16) Nolan Ryan, Angels -- July 19, 1973
No-hitter: July 15, 1973, vs. Tigers
Follow-up: 10 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 13 K vs. Orioles

It's hard to imagine doing some of the things Ryan did in modern baseball. On July 15, 1973, he pitched a 17-strikeout no-hitter against the Tigers. On July 19, he took the mound again against the Orioles and threw 10 1/3 more innings with 13 more strikeouts, allowing just three hits. That's 19 1/3 innings, three hits and 30 strikeouts in a span of four days.

17) Sandy Koufax, Dodgers -- July 4, 1962
No-hitter: June 30, 1962, vs. Mets
Follow-up: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 10 K vs. Phillies

Koufax followed the first no-hitter of his legendary career with another gem, a complete-game, one-run, 10-strikeout victory over the Phillies, on the Fourth of July, no less.

18) Roy Halladay, Phillies -- June 4, 2010
No-hitter: May 29, 2010, vs. Marlins
Follow-up: 7 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 7 K vs. Padres

Halladay was a Hall of Famer in the middle of one of the best seasons of his career when he threw his perfect game on May 29, 2010. Back at Citizens Bank Park for his next start, the Phillies' new ace beat a strong Padres team, holding San Diego to two runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts in a one-run win. Doc went on to win the NL Cy Young Award that year and joined Don Larsen as the only pitchers in MLB history to toss a no-hitter in the postseason.

19) Hoyt Wilhelm, Orioles -- Sept. 26, 1958
No-hitter: Sept. 20, 1958, vs. Yankees
Follow-up: 9 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 10 K vs. Yankees

Wilhelm had only been an Oriole for a month when he no-hit the eventual World Series-champion Yankees in his second-to-last start of the season. In his final start, he faced the Mickey Mantle-led Bronx Bombers again, and had to duel Whitey Ford on the mound. The Hall of Fame knuckleballer outpitched Ford and threw nine innings of one-run, 10-strikeout baseball in a game Baltimore went on to win in extra innings.

20) Warren Spahn, Braves -- May 3, 1961
No-hitter: April 28, 1961, vs. Giants
Follow-up: 9 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 9 K, CG vs. Dodgers

It was five days after Spahn's 40th birthday when he pitched the second no-hitter of his career at Milwaukee's County Stadium. Five days later, he followed that up with a two-hitter, allowing only one run and striking out nine against the Dodgers.

21) Ervin Santana, Angels -- Aug. 2, 2011
No-hitter: July 27, 2011, vs. Indians
Follow-up: 9 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 7 K vs. Twins

Santana pitched the Angels' first no-hitter since 1990 in his last start of July 2011. In his first start of August, he added a second straight complete game, allowing only one run to the Twins and striking out seven.

22) Mike Scott, Astros -- Oct. 2, 1986
No-hitter: Sept. 25, 1986, vs. Giants
Follow-up: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 8 K vs. Giants

Scott closed out the 1986 season in dominant fashion. In his second-to-last start of the regular season, the Astros ace threw a 13-strikeout no-hitter against the Giants to clinch the NL West. In his last start, also against San Francisco, he threw seven innings of two-hit, one-run, eight-strikeout baseball. He also baffled the Mets in the NL Championship Series. Then he won the NL Cy Young Award.

23) Félix Hernández, Mariners -- Aug. 21, 2012
No-hitter: Aug. 15, 2012, vs. Rays
Follow-up: 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 5 K vs. Indians

King Félix was perfect on Aug. 15, 2012. In his next start, six days later, he was still great. The Mariners ace limited the Indians to one run in 7 2/3 innings, striking out five more to follow his 12-K perfecto.

24) Ubaldo Jiménez, Rockies -- April 22, 2010
No-hitter: April 17, 2010, vs. Braves
Follow-up: 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 5 K vs. Nationals

Ubaldo's start to the 2010 season was one of the most dominant ever -- he had a 0.78 ERA over 11 starts through the first two months of the season. The no-hitter came in the third of those starts, and the follow-up for the Rockies ace was 7 1/3 more scoreless innings in his outing against the Nationals.

25) Dave Righetti, Yankees -- July 9, 1983
No-hitter: July 4, 1983, vs. Red Sox
Follow-up: 10 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 7 K vs. Royals

Righetti no-hit the rival Red Sox on the Fourth of July in 1983. In his next start against the Royals, nine dominant innings wasn't even enough. Righetti pitched 10 1/3 innings of two-run, seven-strikeout baseball against the Royals before handing off the ball to Goose Gossage -- only for the Yankees to lose on a walk-off throwing error by catcher Butch Wynegar on a steal.