As the final out of his seven-inning no-hitter settled into the glove of right fielder Josh Rojas, D-backs left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a handshake and a subdued hug from catcher Carson Kelly.
Was Kelly tempted to jump into Bumgarner's arms the way that some catchers do at the completion of a no-hitter?
"I wanted to stay professional, because if I did that, he probably would've punched me right in the mouth," Kelly said laughing. "I'm just so happy for him. I really am."
Bumgarner broke into a smile as more and more of his teammates mobbed him at the mound, and then he did again when he got back into the clubhouse following the 7-0 victory over the Braves, which clinched Arizona a sweep of its Sunday seven-inning doubleheader at Truist Park.
Zac Gallen held the Braves to just one hit while tossing a seven-inning complete game of his own in Game 1.
"You know I like to keep it pretty low key, and they definitely didn't," Bumgarner said. "But that's fun and I appreciate that, too. It's a pretty special moment for all of us, and like I said, I'm just blessed and fortunate to be able to do that and be a part of this."
For Bumgarner, Sunday was the culmination of a lot of effort behind the scenes as he has tried to work his way out of the struggles that he has had since signing with the D-backs prior to last season.
Two starts ago, he said that it felt like he was close to getting "to the other side of the mountain" a number of times before being pushed back down it. Last time out against the Nationals was a step forward, and Sunday, he looked like the Bumgarner of old.
"It feels good," Bumgarner said. "I mean, that was obviously a rough -- very rough stretch -- and I've been through a lot of rough stretches. It's just part of it. I was waiting on it to turn around. I've been doing a lot of stuff and it's only been two games. I'm not getting caught up and saying this and that, but I definitely feel good about where I'm at right now."
Unlike a lot of no-hitters, there were no outstanding defensive plays to save it. Instead, Bumgarner just methodically jumped ahead in counts and was able to put Atlanta hitters away.
Two balls -- Guillermo Heredia in the third and Travis d'Arnaud in the fifth -- were hit to the warning track, but ultimately hauled in.
The lone baserunner against Bumgarner came in the second inning when Ozzie Albies reached on a throwing error by shortstop Nick Ahmed.
Bumgarner finished the game having thrown 98 pitches (73 strikes) and he was asked if he thought that he could have finished off the no-hitter had the game been scheduled for nine.
"I mean, I would have tried," Bumgarner said. "I don't know. There's too many variables. If it works for seven, it's hard to imagine it not working for two more."
Bumgarner's postseason heroics are the stuff of legend: he was a big part of three World Series winning teams in 2010, ‘12 and ‘14 while with the Giants.
But until Sunday, he had never thrown a no-hitter of any length in the big leagues. So where does that rank with his other achievements?
"I think it's got to be up there, for sure," Bumgarner said. "I'm pretty proud of it."
Bumgarner does not believe in superstitions, but he was aware around the fourth inning that he had not allowed a hit and he could tell that some of his teammates were treating him differently.
"I could notice people not wanting to look at me and not wanting to get close, which is normal [during a no-hit bid]," Bumgarner said. "But I'm just laughing on the inside because I don't think that something I say or do like that is going to affect it. I mean, I don't see it that way. A lot of guys do."
In fact, Bumgarner said that he and Kelly talked about the lack of hits in the dugout in either the fifth or sixth inning. Of course, he also talked to Giants catcher Buster Posey about a no-hitter once and that didn't work out so well.
"I've also had another game a few years ago where I said something to Buster about it and gave up a hit on the very next pitch," he said. "So I don't know."
Regardless of what Bumgarner said this time, though, the Braves could not hit him.
"He looked good," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "I mean, he pitched great. He did his job. I think it’s a no-hitter. We had a game today, we didn’t get any hits and he pitched the whole thing."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician, neither a team nor an individual pitcher will be credited with an official no-hitter in a scheduled seven-inning game of a doubleheader -- unless that game goes to extras. Per Elias, any game of fewer than nine innings in which a pitcher or pitchers do not allow a hit should be considered as a “notable achievement.” (More here.)
Including Bumgarner's gem Sunday, there have been 26 individual complete games (dating back to 1901) that lasted less than nine innings in which the pitcher did not allow a hit, the most recent being thrown by Boston's Devern Hansack, who threw a rain-shortened five-inning no-hitter against Baltimore on Oct. 1, 2006.