Ten years ago today:
Is it really ten years? In some ways it seems like just a ffew months ago and in others it seems like a lifetime.
Brandon Morrow threw 8.2 no-hit innings. The Jays would win 1-0.
And then Evan Longoria hit a ground ball between second and first. Aaron Hill made a super effort to get to the ball and got a glove to it, but it bounced off the glove and into the right field. Even if he had caught the ball, he wouldn’t have a play at first. I’ll put a gif up of the play at the bottom of the post. I think Hill hoped the official scorer would call it an error, but it wasn’t.
It was a fantastic start, Morrow struck out 17 (1 shy of the Blue Jays franchise record, owned by Roger Clemens) and walked just 2. He faced four batters above the minimum. From the recap, his 100 Game Score tied for the fourth-best game score since the lively ball era started in 1920. The guys with better game scores? Kerry Wood (105), Nolan Ryan (101, against our Jays) and Sandy Koufax (101). Pretty good company.
He threw 137 pitches, something a pitcher with his injury troubles shouldn’t do (Aaron Sanchez came out of his no-hitter at 92 pitches). I would have taken him out after the hit, but he went on to get Dan Johnson to strikeout to end the game. I think most managers would have pulled him after the single (and 132 pitches), but Cito wanted him to get to walk off the field with a complete game.
The no-hitter almost ended at the second of the 9th inning, Rays Jason Bartlett he a fly ball to the wall in center field, and Vernon Wells made a terrific catch. If there wasn’t a no-hitter, I was sure that Vernon would have played it off the wall. Vernon ended up with a dislocated toe, but he would miss just one game. With 17 strikeouts, our defense didn’t need to make many great plays, but Vernon’s was as good a catch as you’ll see.
On the offensive side, the Jays only had 5 hits. Our run came in the first inning. Yunel Escobar took a 1-out walk (after leadoff hitter DeWayne Wise lined out). Escobar went first to third on a ground out and scored on Wells’ single. Morrow made that run stand up.
The other rather incredible moment in the game was a stolen base by Jose Molina. That would be Molina’s only steal of the season, but he would steal 2 for us next season (and 20 in his 15-year career).
Anyway, it was Morrow’s day. In the recap, I said:
For Morrow, it was his first complete game and his first shutout. And he is just 26; he’ll have more days like this.
I was wrong.
Brandon would play in 100 games, making 93 starts, had 34-31 record and a 4.40 ERA in 5 seasons with the Jays. Since leaving the Jays, he’s played with three teams, Padres, Dodgers, and the Cubs. He didn’t play last year and was released by the Cubs back at the start of July. You’ll remember, he appeared in all 7 World Series games in 2017 with the Dodgers.
The Hill play: