Heston excels with sinker, no-hits Mets

Another year, another San Francisco Giants no-hitter.

The Giants are the second team in major league history to throw a no-hitter in four straight seasons, joining the 1962-65 Los Angeles Dodgers (all four were thrown by Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax).

San Francisco's latest no-hitter was perhaps its most improbable, this one by rookie Chris Heston against the New York Mets. It’s the first no-hitter of the 2015 season.

Heston, in his 13th major league start, struck out 11 and walked none. He ended the game with a flourish by striking out the side in the ninth inning.

The last pitcher to finish a no-hitter with three straight strikeouts, per the Elias Sports Bureau: Koufax in his 1965 perfect game against the Chicago Cubs (a famous game in which the pitcher opposing Koufax threw a one-hitter).

The Mets were no-hit at home for the third time in franchise history. The other two instances came in 1964 (Jim Bunning’s perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies) and 1969.

The consolation a Mets fan can take from the latter occasion is that less than a month after being no-hit, the 1969 Mets won the World Series.

The Giants have thrown 17 no-hitters. That ranks fourth all time, trailing the Dodgers (22), Chicago White Sox (18) and Boston Red Sox (18).

An unlikely person to throw one

Heston allowed five earned runs in 3⅔ innings in his most recent start prior to the no-hitter. In fact, Heston entered the game with a 7.71 ERA in 18⅔ innings in his past four starts.

Heston has been an all-or-nothing pitcher this season. He’s allowed five or more earned runs in five starts, and zero or one earned run in his other seven starts.

Elias notes Heston is the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1973 to throw a no-hitter after failing to complete four innings in his previous start.

How he won: A great sinker

Heston made it look pretty easy with 11 strikeouts and no walks. He won on the strength of his sinker, which was thrown to the lower half of the strike zone 67 percent of the time.

Heston generated 18 outs with that pitch. He averaged more movement on his sinker (7.8 inches) in this start than in any other start this season.

Notes, stats and trends

This was the third no-hitter caught by Buster Posey. Elias notes he is one of three catchers to catch three no-hitters and win three World Series titles. The other two are Bill Carrigan (1912 to 1916) and Yogi Berra (which includes catching Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series).

Heston’s no-hitter was the 25th thrown since the start of the 2010 season. There were 25 no-hitters thrown in total from 1995 to 2009.

This was the second no-hitter thrown at Citi Field. The other was by Johan Santana against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 -- the only no-hitter in Mets history.

Rob Drake was the plate umpire for this game and was also the plate umpire for one other no-hitter: Felix Hernandez's perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.

Did you know?

Elias notes Heston's three hit batsmen are the most by any pitcher in a no-hitter.