Mike Foltynewicz narrowly misses Braves’ first no-hitter since 1994
In his first career ninth-inning appearance, Mike Foltynewicz nearly snapped a 23-year drought.
The 25-year-old Atlanta Braves right-hander flirted with the franchise’s first no-hitter since 1994 in a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night. Oakland first baseman Matt Olson logged the first hit against Foltynewicz in style, clearing the right-field fence in the first at-bat of the final frame to break up the party.
Braves manager Brian Snitker immediately congratulated and relieved his young starter, who hit his career high with 119 pitches.
The remaining Oakland crowd gave Foltynewicz a standing ovation as he walked off the field.
“I don’t even know what to say right now," Foltynewicz said after the outing. "It was a great time out there. Just everything, the energy. I was working well. I was working fast, just working downhill.
"My off-speed wasn’t really there. It was kind of a weird night. I was kinda like really effectively wild, you know? Some pitches, four in a row I wouldn’t get close to the zone and then I’d put (together) a really good sequence to get some hitters. It was a really fun night out there.”
The eight-inning effort lowered Folty's ERA by 38 points. He finished the effort with eight strikeouts and four walks. But he was thinking about history all along:
Kent Mercker is the last Braves pitcher to complete a no-hitter on April 8, 1994, with Javy Lopez behind the plate. Before that? Setting aside a 1991 combined no-hitter (which Mercker also started) Phil Niekro was the second-to-last Braves starter to refuse his opponent a single hit — shutting out the Padres back in 1973. Even after witnessing the primes of Hall of Fame arms Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, the franchise continues to wait.
The win is another stepping stone for the young flamethrower, who continues to show steady improvement in his second full seasons in the majors.
“I’ve been through a lot with that kid the last couple of year," Snitker said. "This is really cool to watch him grow up. I was just proud of him. I was proud that he went after (Olson) right there, and if he gets a hit he gets a hit.”