Giants rookie Heston twirls no-hitter vs. Mets
NEW YORK -- Chris Heston, a 27-year-old rookie making just his 13th career start for the Giants, clapped his hands and jumped off the mound after cementing his place in the record books. The remaining crowd at Citi Field -- many of whom were decked out in San Francisco's signature orange and black -- worked themselves into a frenzy.
Heston struck out the side in the ninth inning to secure the first no-hitter of the 2015 season and a 5-0 victory for the defending World Series champions over the Mets. It marked the 17th no-hitter in club history and the fourth straight season a Giants pitcher has thrown one, as Heston joined Matt Cain (2012) and Tim Lincecum (2013 and 2014).
"I'm still not sure what just happened," Heston said. "It's awesome."
Once designated for assignment by the Giants in July 2013, Heston only made the starting rotation because Cain began the season on the disabled list. And he had been inconsistent all season before his history-making performance Tuesday night.
He did not allow a walk and struck out 11. Heston's only blemishes were three hit batters, the first time dating back to 1914 that more than two batters were plunked during a no-hitter. He also became the first rookie to throw a no-hitter since Boston's Clay Buchholz in 2007.
"That's how guys build their resumes," said Mets third baseman Eric Campbell, who struck out twice. "You tip your cap to him. He made good pitches when he needed to."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Going the distance: Heston kept his pitch count down throughout the game, giving Bochy an easy decision on whether to leave him in the game.
"Of course he hit the first batter in the ninth, so he was going to test me," Bochy said with a laugh.
Heston needed 110 pitches to finish his second career complete game; he threw a career-high 111 pitches against the Astros on May 12, allowing one run and striking out 10.
Syndergaard struggles: Rookie Noah Syndergaard lost for the second straight start after impressing in his first four. For the second straight start, he allowed 10 hits. All were singles, as the Giants employed a death-by-papercut method. But Syndergaard lacked his put-away stuff. He struck out just two and allowed four earned runs.
Panik's homecoming: Giants second baseman Joe Panik was playing in front of a group of his family, friends and fiancee when he belted a solo home run 394 feet. Panik, who grew up in nearby Yonkers and attended St. John's University in Queens, finished the game 2-for-4 and extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.
Gee makes 'pen debut: Right-hander Dillon Gee entered Tuesday with 109 career Major League appearances. On Tuesday he made just his fourth from the bullpen as the Mets officially abandoned the short-lived prospect of a six-man rotation. Gee was greeted harshly to his new role. The first batter he faced, Panik, launched Gee's second pitch into the right-field seats for a homer. Gee allowed three hits and one run in 1 2/3 innings.
Three outs away from completing the biggest pitching moment of his life, Heston wanted to apologize. While running the bases during the eighth inning, he forgot how many outs there were and got doubled off at second base on a line drive that prevented Matt Duffy from scoring another run and cost Nori Aoki an RBI.
So in the dugout in the ninth inning, before he finished off his first career no-hitter, Heston went to Duffy to say he was sorry.
"Dude, don't worry about it," Duffy said. "Just pitch."
"What did we hit one ball out of the infield? Two? That's pretty good pitching." -- Mets manager Terry Collins
"That was one of the most impressive pitching performances I've ever seen." -- Duffy
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets have now been no-hit seven times in their 53-year history. The last pitcher to do it was Darryl Kile on Sept. 8, 1993, as a member of the Houston Astros. The full list of pitchers to no-hit the Mets: Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, Bob Moose, Bill Stoneman, Ed Halicki, Kile and Heston.
In the third inning, Campbell sprawled to his left to rob Angel Pagan of a sure hit. But Pagan was called safe when first-base umpire Joe West ruled Campbell's throw pulled Lucas Duda off the base. Collins challenged, and the call was overturned after a 1:17 review.
Giants: Tim Hudson, who starts Wednesday, made two starts against the Mets last season with a 4.50 ERA (five earned runs in 10 innings) and received a pair of no-decisions. The veteran pitched well in his last start, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings against the Pirates.
Mets: Matt Harvey on Wednesday looks to build on his last start, when he won for the first time in over a month. The righty has never beaten the Giants, pitching to a 3.46 ERA in two career starts. He's 6-3 with a 3.05 ERA overall this season.
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