Wade Miley pitched baseball's second no-hitter in three days -- and fourth already this season -- leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 win Friday night over the Cleveland Indians, who were no-hit for the second time in a month.
Miley (4-2) relied on breaking pitches and his experience of 11-plus major league seasons to baffle the Indians and throw Cincinnati's first no-hitter since Homer Bailey did it in 2013.
"It feels surreal,'' the 34-year-old said.
The left-hander shook off an 83-minute rain delay to start the game in Cleveland and followed Baltimore's John Means, who no-hit Seattle on Wednesday, to continue an early run of pitching gems in 2021 -- quickly becoming the Year of the No-No.
San Diego's Joe Musgrove started the '21 no-hitter club by throwing the first in Padres history on April 9. Five days later, Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon blanked the Indians, just missing a perfect game when he hit a batter in the ninth inning.
Arizona's Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta on April 25, but that one isn't recognized as official because it didn't go nine innings.
This is the earliest in a calendar year there have been four no-hitters since 1917, when the fourth was thrown on May 5 and the fifth on May 6, and only the second season overall in MLB history to have four no-hitters before the end of May, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. It's no wonder: Hitters entered Friday batting a record-low .233 this season.
Miley was in control from the start. He coasted through five innings and carried a perfect game into the sixth, when he began to realize history could be made.
One of the team's most popular players, Miley said the zeros on the scoreboard quickly made him an outcast in Cincinnati's dugout.
"All my buddies left me,'' he said with a laugh. "I don't like that. I don't like thinking about pitching. I want to talk about something else, talk about fishing, talk about hitting, There was nobody to talk to.''
In the ninth, Miley retired pinch hitter Rene Rivera on a lazy fly to right, struck out Cesar Hernandez and then retired Jordan Luplow on a grounder to third before he was mobbed by the Reds, who encircled him and danced across the grass.
"I will never forget that,'' Reds manager David Bell said. "I will never forget the look on Wade's face. I'm so glad he's enjoying every moment.''
After the game, Miley credited his 4-year-old son, Jeb, for convincing him to put a temporary tattoo of the Hulk on his left forearm before his start against the Indians.
"I got no muscles at all,'' Miley said, smiling. "Maybe this gave me some strength.''
For their part, the Indians joined a dubious list by becoming the 16th team to be no-hit twice in the same season. It most recently happened to Seattle in 2019.
Miley walked one and struck out eight on 114 pitches.
"He kept us off balance,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He touched 90 [mph] once tonight, but he put on a clinic. I mean, he cut the ball in on the righties, threw a changeup, threw a four-seamer in; he just went back and forth.''
With Miley joining Rodon and Means in 2021's southpaw no-hit club, the most recent season to feature three no-hitters from left-handed pitchers was 1990 (Randy Johnson, Fernando Valenzuela and Terry Mulholland), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
While Miley was blanking the Indians, Zach Plesac did the same to the Reds for eight innings before Cincinnati pushed three runs across in the ninth, helped by closer Emmanuel Clase's throwing error and a balk.
The Reds got a pair of singles before Clase (2-1) fielded an infield tapper and threw wide of second base, allowing Nick Senzel to score from second. Then, with runners at the corners, Clase began his windup before stopping and tried to throw to second.
Mike Moustakas, starting at first for the injured Joey Votto, followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0 and give Miley, who battled injuries last season after joining the Reds, more cushion -- but also more time to think about it in the dugout.
"That's probably when I felt it the most,'' said the Louisianan, who got emotional afterward while thinking of family back home. "We scratched across three runs and it was going kind of slow. I didn't want to throw in the hallway because I was pretty tired, but at the same time I wanted to stay loose. But I was able to get three pretty quick ones.''
Miley came in just 1-4 in eight career starts against the Indians, who were batting only .213 as a team. But Cleveland has been as hot as any team, riding a five-game winning streak and winning nine of 11 to take over first in the American League Central.
Working quickly on a cool, damp night, Miley made fast work of the Indians.
He coasted through five innings and didn't allow a baserunner until the sixth, when Cleveland's Amed Rosario reached on second baseman Senzel's fielding error and then went to second on his throwing error.
Miley also allowed a walk in the inning, but he regrouped by getting Luplow on a liner to left.
Franmil Reyes came the closest to getting a hit for the Indians, but his hard smash in the fifth inning was right at shortstop Kyle Farmer, who knocked it down and had plenty of time to throw out the slow-footed slugger.
It was the Reds' 17th no-hitter since 1892.
"For something like this to happen, I don't have the words,'' Miley said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.