SEATTLE -- Off the bat, Hisashi Iwakuma believed the slicing fly ball was going to find its way to the outfield grass and end his dream of joining an elite pitching fraternity one out shy.
Then he saw Seattle teammate Austin Jackson sprinting with his glove extended in the air, ready to squeeze the final out and put Iwakuma's name next to that of Hideo Nomo as the only Japanese-born pitchers to throw a no-hitter.
"I can't find the words to express my feelings," Iwakuma said through an interpreter after the fourth no-hitter in the major leagues this season. "I'm truly happy."
A native of Tokyo, Iwakuma, 34, became the first American League pitcher in nearly three years to throw a no-hitter, silencing the Baltimore Orioles in the Mariners' 3-0 victory Wednesday.
Talented but often injured since arriving from Japan in 2012, Iwakuma didn't overpower the Orioles.
That's not his style.
Instead, Iwakuma smartly used a biting splitter and precise control to throw the fourth individual no-hitter in franchise history and become the oldest pitcher since Randy Johnson (age 40) in 2004 to throw a no-no.
Iwakuma's gem ended a streak of 11 straight individual no-hitters thrown by National League pitchers, including three this season: Philadelphia's Cole Hamels (before his trade to Texas), Washington's Max Scherzer and San Francisco's Chris Heston.
The previous AL pitcher to throw a no-hitter was the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, who tossed a perfect game on Aug. 15, 2012, at Safeco Field. There have been four no-hitters at Safeco Field since it opened in 1999, more than at any other ballpark since that season.
In an odd numerical coincidence, Hernandez's perfect game against Tampa Bay came on 8/15/12; Iwakuma's no-hitter was on 8/12/15.
Not surprisingly, Hernandez was one of the first to greet Iwakuma as he was mobbed on the pitcher's mound after the final out, Hernandez wearing a fuzzy bear hat that was handed out to fans earlier in the season in a promotion to honor Iwakuma.
"I'm just glad it's over. I've had to pee since the fifth inning," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon joked. "It's pretty special. I've seen a lot. I thought in the fifth inning his stuff was really sharp and his split was coming out crisp. I thought, 'You never know, but he may have a shot here.' "
Iwakuma struck out seven and walked three, and while Jackson made a solid catch for the final out, the play everyone will remember is Kyle Seager's contorting catch to open the ninth inning. Seager tracked David Lough's foul ball near the stands and made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch for the first out.
"In that situation, you're not letting it get down if you can," Seager said. "You're going to do whatever you can."
Baltimore was no-hit for the seventh time in franchise history and the first since Boston's Clay Buchholz in 2007. The Orioles' best chance at getting to Iwakuma came in the fourth inning after Manny Machado walked to lead off and Gerardo Parra chopped a grounder in the hole between first baseman Mark Trumbo and second baseman Robinson Cano. Quickly moving to his left, Cano tracked down the grounder in shallow right field and threw across his body to get Parra at first.
After Lough fouled out to open the ninth, Machado grounded out to Seager, and Parra flew out to shallow center field to end it. It was the first complete game of Iwakuma's career, after he had pitched 8 2/3 innings twice, including earlier this month against Minnesota.
Iwakuma's longest no-hit bid before Wednesday was 4 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins in 2012.
"It's not just a normal loss. We're going down in the history books on the bad side of a no-hitter," Baltimore's Adam Jones said. "But tip your cap. Iwakuma threw his game."
Iwakuma missed 2½ months early in the season after straining a muscle in his back and side. He has been solid since returning, and there were rumblings around the trade deadline that Iwakuma might be moved.
"That's all I thought, was to come back and give it all I've got every start and make up for the lost time I had in the first half," Iwakuma said.
Jackson led off the fourth with a double and scored on Jesus Sucre's RBI double, again with two outs. It was just the fifth hit of the season for Sucre, Seattle's backup catcher.
Orioles: Catcher Matt Wieters was held out of the lineup a day after leaving the game with a mild hamstring strain. Manager Buck Showalter said Wieters was feeling better, and the hope is he'll be ready to play this weekend at home against Oakland.
Mariners: Nelson Cruz, who left Tuesday's game with neck spasms, was given the day off in part because Seattle has an off day Thursday. McClendon seemed confident Cruz would be back in the lineup Friday in Boston.
Orioles: After a day off, Baltimore opens a 10-game homestand Friday. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-7) starts the opener against Oakland.
Mariners: Seattle travels to the East Coast to open a six-game road trip in Boston. Mike Montgomery (4-4) starts the opener against the Red Sox.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- Home Plate Umpire - Jeff Nelson
- First Base Umpire - Laz Diaz
- Second Base Umpire - Chris Guccione
- Third Base Umpire - Cory Blaser