"And the other thing on Lloyd's wish list, Mr. Iwakuma? Give me eight."
During the first inning of Hisashi Iwakuma's no-hitter, Dave Sims shared with the audience Manager Lloyd McClendon's hope that Kuma could go eight innings and give the bullpen a day of rest. Twenty seven outs later, Kuma would bow to the crowd at Safeco as if to say, "No problem."
No-hitters are a team effort. This will go down in MLB history as Kuma's no-no, as well it should, but every out matters, and every no-hitter has outs that are the result of strong defensive play, casual greatness, or simply doing one's job. So with the final post of Lookout's salute to Kuma, our Bear King, let us relive every out of this great afternoon at Safeco.
The First Inning: A game like any other
1st Out: Manny Machado Lines Out to Left Fielder (yup) Brad Miller (what?)
Degree of Difficulty: Klutz to the max.
It all could have ended before it began. Brad takes an awkward route and actually leaves his feet, leaping toward the ball like the near-lummox that he is. In hindsight, it was an early sign of the magic that was to follow.
2nd Out: Gerardo Parra grounds out to First Baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Routine play with a soupçon of mild Trumbo Terror.
3rd Out: Adam Jones Strikes Out Swinging
Degree of Difficulty: I mean, if you're asking Adam Jones, quite high.
Iwakuma recorded seven K's yesterday. Jones had a series wRC+ of 301 and two home runs before he swung (and missed) with great conviction at a 92 mph fastball that dropped out of the zone indicating Kuma was not, as the kids would say, fucking around.
The Second Inning: Hey baseball is fun
4th Out: Chris Davis Flies Out to Left Fielder (yup) Brad Miller (STILL A THING)
Degree of Difficulty: Much less klutz, much more outfielder.
5th Out: Jimmy Paredes grounds out softly, third baseman Kyle Seager to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Our Sweet Prince does not acknowledge difficulty, only opportunities.
6th Out: Jonathan Schoop lines out to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Routine play, set phasers to Trumbo, presumably a low setting.
The Third Inning: Wait
7th Out: Ryan Flaherty grounds out, shortstop Ketel Marte to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH terror!
This was almost Very, Very Bad. Kyle dives to stop the ball and misses. But then there was shortstopcenterfielder Ketel Marte, perfectly placed to throw Flaherty out. Coincidentally, the exact same play happened during Felix's Perfect Game, featuring Kyle Seager and some human who used to play for the Mariners.
8th Out: Caleb Joseph flies out to right fielder Seth Smith
Degree of Difficulty: Not high when you remember that an outfielder and not a designated hitter is playing the outfield. (Sorry Nelson, you get better real soon.)
9th Out: David Lough grounds out softly, second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Let's have a catch.
The Fourth Inning: No really, wait... are there no...
10th Out: After a Manny Machado walk, Gerardo Parra grounds out, second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: As Chedda Da Connect would say, Look at the Flicka Da Wrist. LOOK AT IT.
I hope to one day look as casual being as great at something as Robinson Cano is at playing second base. This is a hard play. He makes it look like an easy play. In an inning that would see Kuma walk two batters, this was an essential play.
11th Out: Adam Jones strikes out swinging.
Degree of Difficulty: Seriously, dude, maybe stop swinging at that.
12th Out: After a Chris Davis walk, Jimmy Paredes strikes out swinging.
Degree of Difficulty: High. Very High. Are you worried? I AM VERY WORRIED.
The fourth inning is when I texted another Lookout Landing writer and asked if I should consider "running errands." With two on, and two outs, Jimmy Paredes stepped into the batter's box, swung through an 86 mph sinker, looked at the broadcast camera and said, "Yeah Meg, ‘run errands'." I mean, I was still following on GameDay, so I can't confirm he did that. But he probably did.
The Fifth Inning: Get to a TV, we're doing this
13th Out: Jonathan Schoop grounds out, third baseman Kyle Seager to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Gold Glovin' It.
14th Out: Ryan Flaherty grounds out softly, second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Whateves!
15th Out: Caleb Joseph flies out to center fielder Austin Jackson
Degree of Difficulty: Warning track power.
The Sixth Inning: The swinging sixth
16th Out: David Lough grounds out softly, second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Mark Trumbo
Degree of Difficulty: Do you even lift, bro?
17th and 18th Outs: Manny Machado and Gerardo Parra Strike Out Swinging
Degree of Difficulty: Mike Zunino laying off the high fast ones.
And boy did they ever swing. At some point you expect Charlie Brown not to try kicking the football. The Orioles were Charlie Brown, Kuma was Lucy, and his high fastball was the football that left their team laid out, wondering what the hell just happened to them.
The Seventh Inning: My stomach hurts
19th Out: Adam Jones flies out to center fielder Austin Jackson
Degree of Difficulty: (Actually) low. Terror level: AHHHHHHHHHH THAT WAS SO LOUD OFF THE BAT ADAM JONES IS SO STRONG IT IS DEFINITELY, oh wait he caught it.
20th Out: Chris Davis strikes out swinging, catcher Jesus Sucre to first baseman Logan Morrison
Degree of Difficulty: Even mustaches get the blues.
21st Out: Jimmy Paredes grounds out, second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Logan Morrison
Degree of Difficulty: Breathing shouldn't be this hard. BREATHING IS VERY HARD. This play wasn't, though.
The Eighth Inning: YOU GUYS
22nd Out: After Jonathan Schoop walks, Ryan Flaherty strikes out looking.
Degree of Difficulty: If you couldn't hit it before, we see no reason why you could now.
23rd and 24th Outs: Caleb Joseph grounds into a double play, shortstop Ketel Marte to second baseman Robinson Cano to first baseman Logan Morrison. Schoop out at second.
Degree of Difficulty: THANK GOD.
Kuma was at 106 pitches when Joseph hit into this double play. It was the most important out of the game (until the ones that came after it), preserving Kuma's pitch count and allowing him to pitch the ninth. By this time, several other people had stepped away from their jobs to "run an errand" and I had made several new friends.
The Ninth Inning: Hail Kuma the Bear King
25th Out: David Lough pops out to third baseman Kyle Seager in foul territory
Degree of Difficulty: YOU ARE A MAGICAL UNICORN AND NOW THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS IT.
It's the little things. While the box score of yesterday's game will remember our Sweet Prince's fantastic play as a pop out in foul territory, we will all remember it by the faces of the crowd as the ball slices away from Kyle, he contorts his body, and puts Kuma two outs away from history. Seriously, LOOK AT THESE FACES.
26th Out: Manny Machado grounds out, third baseman Kyle Seager to first baseman Logan Morrison
Degree of Difficulty: "I mean, did you even see what I just did?" Kyle Seager, probably.
The Final Out: Gerardo Parra lines out to center fielder Austin Jackson
Degree of Difficulty: Jesus Sucre's initial terror.
This is what joy is, this is what love feels like.
Here is every out of the no-hitter, beautifully compiled and preserved for as long as the internet exists (so forever):