7 Cubs pitchers combine to no-hit Padres
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres’ lineup figures to be one of the best in baseball this season, but seven Cubs pitchers figured out San Diego’s spring version Friday night, throwing a combined no-hitter in a 4-0 victory at Peoria Stadium.
It’s the first spring no-hitter since March 24, 2017, when eight Angels pitchers no-hit the Mariners.
Making his first start of the spring after being scratched last week with arm fatigue, Justin Steele fired two perfect innings, needing just 18 pitches to get six outs.
“Their lineup is going to be really good this year,” Steele said. “It's good to face [Jake] Cronenworth and [Trent] Grisham. I faced Cronenworth and Grisham a lot throughout the Minor Leagues, so they’ve seen me plenty. It’s good to face [Manny] Machado. It’s good to get out there and compete again.”
Javier Assad followed Steele with two hitless frames of his own. Brad Boxberger, Adbert Alzolay, Jeremiah Estrada and Cam Sanders then threw one scoreless frame apiece before Nick Burdi finished off the no-hitter in the ninth.
After Steele and Assad retired the first 10 batters of the game, Cronenworth’s fourth-inning walk gave the Padres their first baserunner. Assad then got Machado to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Few people in the ballpark even realized what was happening, but the Padres may have been aware. José Azocar tried to bunt for a hit to open the sixth, but Alzolay made a nice play to get the out. Jackson Merrill followed with a shallow fly ball to right field, where Yonathan Perlaza made a running catch to keep the no-hitter alive.
Estrada struck out two in the seventh and Sanders did the same in the eighth, leaving it to Burdi to finish it off. Burdi struck out Wyatt Hoffman to start the ninth, but a walk of Alfonso Rivas and a wild pitch gave San Diego its first runner in scoring position.
A second walk – the fifth of the game by the Cubs’ pitchers – prompted a mound visit from pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. The breather worked, as Burdi made the pitch he needed, getting Tim Lopes to ground into a game-ending double play.
“First game under the lights, but they had to play under ’em, too,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s a Spring Training game, but it never feels good to get no-hit. We’re not going to go home with a smile on our face.”