Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Sean Manaea took the mound on Saturday, April 21st, 2018, against the Boston Red Sox, but as each inning rolled along and Red Sox batter after Red Sox batter failed to record a hit, something special began to brew in Oakland.
The thought of a perfect game was eliminated when Manaea walked Mookie Betts on 6 pitches to begin the game. After walking Betts, Manaea was nearly flawless, restricting the red-hot Red Sox to just 4 baserunners while striking out 10 of the 30 batters he faced (a career record).
The Oakland Athletics’ scoring for the game came from RBI doubles by Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty along with Marcus Semien’s solo home run off of Red Sox’ ace Chris Sale in the fifth inning.
Manaea benefitted from a controversial with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi hit a slow ground ball to down the first base line. Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson fielded it and reached out to tag Benintendi, who veered away from the baseline to avoid the tag. The tag was avoided by Benintendi and he was rewarded a hit. Unfortunately, for Benintendi (and the Red Sox), the call was controversially overturned with the ruling being that Benintendi stepped out of the baseline.
Boston was unable to record a hit for the rest of the game and with 2-outs in the top of the ninth inning, Hanly Ramirez came to the plate with one thing on his mind…to wreck it. Ramirez would hit a 106.1 MPH ground ball (the hardest hit ball of the game) to shortstop Marcus Semien who flipped the ball to second for the force out. History was made at that moment and the Oakland A’s mobbed Sean Manaea to congratulate him on the achievement.
Sean Manaea only allowed 2 batted balls with a hit probability equal to or greater than 50%. Hanley Ramiez’s game-ending fielder’s choice had a hit probability of exactly 50%. Ramirez took the classy route after the game by reaching out to Manaea via Twitter.
Surprisingly, Boston hadn’t been no-hit since April 22, 1993; the 2nd-longest active streak in MLB entering today. The longest active streak is ironically held by the Oakland A’s. Manaea is the 3rd pitcher in Athletics history with 10+ strikeouts in a no-hitter, joining Dave Stewart (12 in 1990) and Catfish Hunter (11 in 1968). Sean Manaea’s no-hitter against Boston was the first perfect game thrown by an Oakland Athletic since Dallas Braden threw a perfect game on Mother’s Day in 2010.
What a day for Sean Manaea?! What a day for the Oakland A’s?! What a day for baseball?!