Big Unit, Jackson united by D-backs no-nos

March 13th, 2019

One is a Hall of Fame pitcher and a household name among baseball fans. The other is the definition of a well-traveled starter.

However, both sit together as the only pitchers in D-backs history to throw a no-hitter.

In 2004, Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher to toss a perfect game when he did so against the Atlanta Braves. Six years later, hurled Arizona's second no-hitter, and he did it facing one of his former teams, the Tampa Bay Rays.

The D-backs haven't had a no-no since, but they have gotten close a couple times. Most recently, Zack Greinke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Pirates on May 11, 2017.

Jackson's no-no vs. Rays, June 25, 2010 There had already been three no-hitters that season before Jackson's, but his was certainly the most unconventional.

Jackson walked seven batters in the first three innings and eight overall, he hit a batter and watched another reach base via an error.

The D-backs won, 1-0, and Jackson had completed the no-hitter after 149 pitches. From the sixth inning on, Arizona manager A.J. Hinch and Jackson talked about when it'd be time to pull him.
But Jackson refused to give in.

"It's one of those moments where I tell [Hinch], 'I'm not coming out until I give up a hit or home run,'" Jackson, then 26, told reporters after the game. "You want to skip my next start, that's fine. Give me an extra day [off], that's fine.

"It's one of those opportunities that doesn't come every day. And for me to come out of that game without giving up a hit, it would have been 'What if? What if I would have stayed in?' I'm glad it didn't have to be a what-if situation."

Two years earlier, Jackson tied for the staff lead with 14 wins for a Rays team that won its first American League pennant in franchise history.

"It's one of those moments where you're just caught up in the moment, just try to get zoned in and tell yourself that if it's meant to be, it'll happen," Jackson said.

The Big Unit's perfecto, May 18, 2004
It was pure dominance.

The D-backs were on the road in Atlanta. That Braves were led by perennial All-Star Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones, who will be enshrined with Johnson in Cooperstown this summer. Atlanta went on to win 96 games and capture the National League East that year.
On this particular night, none of that mattered, as Johnson made history in a 2-0 D-backs win.
"A game like this was pretty special," Johnson said after the game. "It doesn't come along very often."

The legendary Cy Young, at 37, had previously been the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game. Johnson was 40. It didn't show, though.

Johnson fanned 13. He went to three balls on a hitter just once -- in the second inning. He recorded the final out on his 117th pitch.

"This is one of those nights where a superior athlete was on top of his game," D-backs manager Bob Brenly said after Johnson's masterpiece. "There was a tremendous rhythm out there. His focus, his concentration, his stuff -- everything was as good as it could possibly be."

Johnson threw the first no-hitter of his career in 1990, when he played for the Mariners. Somehow, he topped it 14 years later.