Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means threw the third no-hitter of the 2021 MLB season Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners — and might have thrown a perfect game but for one weird baseball rule after a strikeout.
Means struck out 12 Mariners batters and was just one unusual play away from throwing a perfect game.
In the third inning of the game at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, Means struck out Mariners batter Sam Haggerty, who swung at a curveball.
The pitch, though, got through the legs of Orioles catcher Pedro Severino, and Haggerty took advantage of an odd baseball rule to make a run for first base.
In baseball’s dropped third-strike rule — “perhaps the strangest rule in professional sports,” according to MLB.com — a batter is allowed to make a run for first base even after striking out if the catcher doesn’t catch the pitch before it hits the ground.
Severino threw out Haggerty trying to steal second base later in the inning, so Means still ended up facing the minimum 27 batters in the game.
According to MLB.com, Means still made history, as he is the “first pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter in which the only baserunner came via the dropped third strike rule.”
Had Means achieved the perfect game, it would have been the first in the big leagues since 2012.
Means is the first Orioles pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter since Hall of Famer Jim Palmer accomplished the feat in 1969.
The Orioles won the game 6-0.