This time last year, Chris Heston was nobody, a forgettable non-prospect doing his second tour of AAA, and stuck with the unenviable “organizational soldier” tag. Tonight, however, he’s more than somebody. Tonight Heston is baseball’s biggest star in the city under the world’s biggest spotlight. Heston tossed nine no-hit innings to beat the New York Mets at Citi Field tonight to become the seventeenth pitcher in Giants history to toss a no-no (and the ninth in San Francisco Giants history). I guess it’s safe to say he’s made the most of his opportunity in the Giants’ rotation this season.
Heston was in control all night against the first place Mets’ lineup, keeping their hitters off balance and needing just 110 pitches to complete his no-hit bid. Heston hit three batters but did not walk anybody while striking out a career-high eleven in his nine innings of work. He allowed just two Mets batters to get past first base all night (and one of those was on defensive indifference in the ninth inning).
Heston’s no-hitter was the first by a Giants rookie since 1912 (when Jeff Tesreau did it), and the first by a rookie pitcher since Clay Buchholz in 2007. It was also the first no-hitter of the 2015 season. Since 2009, Giants pitchers have thrown five no-hitters (plus a near-miss perfect game by Yusmeiro Petit in 2013), and have now had a pitcher toss a no-no in four consecutive seasons. By contrast, the Mets, the victims of Heston’s masterpiece tonight, have had just one no-hitter in the entire history of their franchise.
The Giants gave Heston plenty of cushion to work with, getting out to an early 1-0 in the first inning and expanding that lead to 3-0 after four. Nori Aoki and Joe Panik started the game with back-to-back singles off of Mets starter Noah Syndergaard (nicknamed “Thor” by the Mets faithful), and Aoki came around to plate the Giants’ first run when Angel Pagan grounded into a fielder’s choice. The Giants stretched the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Heston helped his own cause by lining a bases loaded single, his first of two hits on the night.
As Heston continued to chew through the New York lineup, the Giants padded their lead on solo home runs by Matt Duffy and Joe Panik in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. For both players, the home run was their fifth of the season, continuing the friendly rivalry the two have going to out-homer one another.
As the tension mounted, Heston headed out for the ninth looking to cement his place in baseball history. After hitting Mets catcher Anthony Recker with a pitch to start the inning, Heston then quickly struck out both pinch hitter Danny Muno and Curtis Granderson to put himself one out away from the no-no. Heston then got Ruben Tejada looking on a front door two-seamer to seal his historic night. Buster Posey was the first to greet Heston with a celebratory hug. It was the third no-hitter that Posey has caught in his career.
The win improves the Giants’ record to 33-26. They’ve won three of the first four games of the road trip after coming off of a five-game losing streak.
The win was the first complete game shutout of Heston’s career and his second complete game of the season. He improved his record to 6-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.77. His no-hitter was the 288th in baseball history. Not bad for a guy who was once DFA’d by the Giants to make room for Jeff Francoeur.