clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann on no-hitter vs Marlins: 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 Ks

Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann joined Walter "Big Train" Johnson and Washington Senators' lefty Bobby Burke on the list of pitchers from the nation's capital with no-hitters. 1920, 1931 and 2014.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Walter "Big Train" Johnson threw the one no-hitter of his Hall-of-Fame-worthy 21-year MLB career on July 1, 1920 in Boston's Fenway Park. Johnson joined the list of pitchers with "no-hit, no-walk, no-HBP" no-hitters that day when a seventh-inning error by Washington Senators' infielder Bucky Harris kept him from having a perfect game.

Johnson retired the first 18 Red Sox' hitters he faced, then after the error, set nine straight down to complete the no-no.

Johnson did also throw a seven-inning no-hitter in which he walked just two batters in a rain-shortened game in Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium on August 25, 1924, but the 1920 no-hitter was the only complete game no-hitter by a pitcher from the nation's capital until left-hander Bobby Burke too held the Red Sox hitless on August 8, 1931.

"Double. No-doubt double. And then [Souza] comes out of nowhere and makes that catch." -Jordan Zimmermann on first thought when Christian Yelich lined to left for last out.

Burke walked five and struck out eight in Griffith Stadium for the second Senators' no-hitter.

Eighty-three years later, in Washington, D.C.'s Nationals Park, Jordan Zimmermann became the third D.C.-based pitcher to throw a no-hitter when he held the Miami Marlins hitless over nine strong innings on the mound in which he issued just one walk and had one batter reach on a wild pitch after a swinging strike three.

Zimmermann retired the first fourteen batters he faced before the walk and set six down before Marlins' right fielder Garrett Jones K'd swinging at an 0-2 bender in the dirt that got by Wilson Ramos and rolled too far away for the Nats' catcher to make a play. Ramos made a snap throw to first in the next at bat, however, to take Jones off the basepaths and end Zimmermann's seventh hitless frame.

The next six batters went down in order with Nationals' left fielder Steven Souza making an unbelieveable, out-of-nowhere diving catch in left-center to rob Marlins' left fielder Christian Yelich of an extra base hit and end Zimmermann's historic day on the mound in the Nationals' home.

A crowd of 35,038 in Nationals Park erupted in celebration after hanging on every pitch from the fifth or sixth inning on when they started to realize Zimmermann was on to something special.

Zimmermann said he thought he'd lost the no-hit bid with two down in the eighth as soon as Yelich connected with what ended up being the final pitch of the game.

"'Double,'" was his first thought he told reporters after game. "No-doubt double. And then [Souza] comes out of nowhere and makes that catch. So, I guess whatever he wants he can have. I'll buy him anything."

"He saved me. All those guys behind me today -- the fifth inning I had three rockets off the bat and right at guys and that's when I knew it might be something special happening, and I don't think anyone in the stadium expected Souza to get to that and somehow he turned it up another gear and got there."

"He kind of rolled on the ball and I didn't really know what happened. And then he lifts his glove up so I knew that he had it." -Jordan Zimmermann on Steven Souza's no-hit-saving catch

Even though Souza got to the ball, Zimmermann still wasn't sure he made the catch.

"He kind of rolled on the ball and I didn't really know what happened. And then he lifts his glove up so I knew that he had it."

Nats' skipper Matt Williams said he wasn't sure Souza would get to the ball either. Off the bat, he said he just started calling for Souza to get there.

"Just asking Steven to get his legs going and go get it," he said. "The ball was carrying today. It's warm outside and fly balls were carrying really well. He made a great play. That's typical of the way these guys play. It's typical of the way they've set out to play and that play epitomizes the way that they've gone about it all year. It's a great catch."

Zimmermann's reaction to the play behind him is absolutely priceless, as captured by the MLB Network's in-stadium cameras:

Williams said he was just glad he made that particular defensive replacement before the start of the ninth inning, bringing Souza on for Ryan Zimmerman, who is still working his way back from a hamstring strain.

"I felt like we owed it to Jordan to try to put the best defensive club in there," he explained. "Certainly glad we did. Souza made a great play."

Zimmermann said it was an emotional day, but he just tried to stay calm throughout as he piled up outs.

"I was just trying to keep it all in," the preternaturally calm right-hander said.

"I knew it was getting close and obviously with the fans going crazy, you can definitely notice you're getting close to the end..." -Jordan Zimmermann on emotions late on the way to no-hitter

"I knew it was getting close and obviously with the fans going crazy, you can definitely notice you're getting close to the end and just try to be myself out there and throw strikes."

The Marlins' approach helped too according to Zimmermann, who said he just went out and did what he does each time he takes the mound.

"I try not to change anything," he said. "Just go out there and keep throwing strikes and hitting the corners and they were swinging early and I knew that, so throw some sliders in there and got ahead [for] the most part, that one walk kind of still burns me a little bit. But I guess we can live with that."

Did he think he threw a strike to Marlins' first baseman Justin Bour in the 3-2 count that ended with the one walk he allowed?

"It was down," Zimmermann admitted.

Asked what he was thinking as the game went on, he said he just concentrated on retiring batters.

"I wasn't thinking much of anything," Zimmermann said. "Just get outs, that's about it and keep the pitch count down so I can stay out here. So, just throw strikes."

His manager said he originally planned on leaving Zimmermann in for 5-6 innings in his last regular season start, but once things got interesting, was he hoping the pitcher would give up a hit so he didn't to make a tough decision?

"Never ever think in that regard," Williams said. "It's a special day. This doesn't happen very often and he was in command from the beginning, his pitch count was low which helps and there was never a thought of taking him out until he gave up a hit."

Was Zimmermann nervous in the ninth?

"No," he said. "Just fans are going crazy, adrenaline was pumping and I was throwing fastballs pretty much down the middle and got lucky on a few and made some pitches when I had to."

A reporter wondered what fans in his hometown of Auburndale, Wisconsin were thinking about what he accomplished?

"Are the Packers still playing?" Zimmermann asked. "Everybody is probably watching those guys. I don't know."

As for his own thoughts on the accomplishment and what he achieved?

"It ranks right up there with clinching the division and things like that," Zimmermann said. "Running out on the field and acting like fools, but I'm glad we got it done today and have some momentum going into the playoffs."

There was only one thing that bothered him.

"I was joking with Jerry Blevins today," he explained, "and I said, 'Well, if I go nine innings today, I'm going to be pretty mad, stuck on 199 ⅔, but I guess I'm pretty happy."

Zimmermann's 2014 regular season campaign ended with the Nats' '07 2nd Round pick (14-5) in 32 starts with a 2.66 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 29 walks (1.31 BB/9) and 182 Ks (8.20 K/9) over 199 ⅔ IP... with one no-hitter.