Cain 'on his horse' for catch, saves no-no

Peterson's stellar grab in foul territory in 9th gives Brewers two 'plays'

September 12th, 2021

CLEVELAND -- The zero in the opponents’ hit column pleased . But he couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.

“They say every [no-hitter] has a play,” Burnes said.

Sure enough, was there to make it happen, channeling an all-time Brewers great in the process. Cain’s heroic haul-in of a well-struck liner in Burnes’ eighth and final inning stands as the defining defensive play of the combined no-hitter tossed by Burnes and closer Josh Hader in a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Saturday night at Progressive Field.

It was also eerily reminiscent of Robin Yount’s diving grab that sealed the only other Brewers no-hitter, tossed by Juan Nieves on April 15, 1987.

“It brings up memories, for sure,” said manager Craig Counsell, who was raised in Milwaukee. “Remarkably similar. Pretty incredible, actually.”

Here’s how it happened:

There were two outs and none on (Cleveland’s only baserunner of the night had reached on a walk an inning earlier). Burnes’ pitch count had ventured into career-high territory, so it was clear he would not get a shot at pitching the ninth. But he obviously still wanted to keep the no-hitter intact.

On a 1-1 curveball, Cleveland second baseman Owen Miller smoked a line drive with a 96.7 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast. In fact, it was one of only three balls hit off Burnes all night that had an exit velocity of 87 mph or more. And headed toward the right-center-field gap, it had just a 10-percent catch probability.

Unless, of course, the person vying for the catch is the man known as “LoCain,” whose defensive brilliance is a big league staple. Cain covered the 55 feet needed to get to the ball in 3.5 seconds of opportunity time and laid out for the ball with a terrific diving snag.

“I understood the situation, so I was definitely on my horse, ready to go,” Cain said. “My mindset was to try to catch everything.”

It was a spectacular way to cap Burnes’ spectacular eight innings, especially with the game's outcome still uncertain.

“We’ve seen what Lo can do, robbing homers like it's nothing,” Burnes said. “When that ball came off the bat, I thought there was a chance it was going to get down. But when I saw Lo Cain had a bead on it, I knew he had it.”

Another nice play arrived in the ninth, when first baseman Jace Peterson ran down an Austin Hedges popup in foul territory, at the netting.

So, yeah, every no-hitter has one play. Or maybe even two.