A little over 10 years since Justin Verlander tossed his second career no-hitter, Spencer Turnbull joined him in the history books.
The 28-year-old right-hander threw the fifth no-hitter in the majors this season, blanking the Seattle Mariners, 5-0, on Tuesday. A fourth-inning walk to Jarred Kelenic and a ninth-inning walk to Jose Marmolejos were the only things that prevented perfection.
Turnbull delivered the eighth no-hitter in Detroit Tigers’ history, striking out Mitch Haniger on a foul tip to complete the feat.
Verlander tossed Detroit’s most recent no-hitter on May 7, 2011 in Toronto.
Turnbull struck out seven and was aided by a sparkling defensive play from third baseman Jeimer Candelario.
Candelario also hit his fourth homer of the season in the first inning, scored two runs and drove in a pair or runs.
Turnbull takes control from the jump
Turnbull cruised through the first three innings, recording a strikeout in each of those frames.
He then issued a five-pitch walk to Kelenic in the fourth. After Haniger flied out to the warning track, Turnbull struck out Kyle Seager with a curve and Kyle Lewis for the second time with a fastball.
Turnbull kept his pitch count down by getting three ground ball outs in the fifth and a couple more in the sixth.
Candelario made his big defensive play in the seventh to keep the no-hitter alive. He backhanded Haniger’s hard one-hopper, then swiftly straightened himself out and fired a bullet to first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Seager then flew out and Lewis struck out for the third time, this time on a slider.
Seattle went down quietly in the eighth. J.P. Crawford bounced out on a 2-0 pitch, Dylan Moore popped out and Luis Torrens was left frozen by a slider.
The ninth was a little more eventful. He walked Marmolejos on a 3-2 pitch, then struck out Sam Haggerty. Kelenic hit into a fielder’s choice and Turnbull blew away Haniger on three pitches to finish off his historic outing.
Schoop takes the short route
Jonathan Schoop contributed a two-run homer to the Tigers’ 4-1 series-opening victory on Monday.
He helped to push across a run in the third inning with a much different hit. He swung at a Justin Dunn curveball and his dribbler up the third base line refused to go foul. The ball nudged the bag for an infield single.
That allowed Robbie Grossman, who had walked, to advance to second. Following a wild pitch, Grossman scored on a Candelario groundout.
Candy provides the power
Candelario isn’t the type to admire his long balls but he did briefly stare at his first-inning blast off Dunn. A smile came across his face as he drilled the four-seamer over the right-center field wall.
Candelario’s last homer came at Boston on May 5. He nearly hit another one in the eighth, as he smacked a double off the center-field wall against Paul Sewald. Candelario scored on Cabrera’s opposite-field single for a 3-0 lead.
Out of nowhere
How unlikely was Turnbull’s success? Not only was the effort Turnbull’s first shutout and complete game in the major leagues, it was his first complete game since blanking Double-A Reading as a member of the Erie SeaWolves on June 10, 2018. Turnbull allowed four hits in that game while striking out 11. In the majors, Turnbull had never worked past the seventh inning.
On the Bally Sports Detroit telecast after the game, Turnbull described Tuesday as “absolutely surreal,” adding that he was “just trying to soak it in.”
For the Mariners, it was their second time being no-hit in a month; Baltimore’s John Means also shut down the M’s at T-Mobile Field on May 5. It is also the fifth no-hitter thrown this year: In addition to Means’, the Padres’ Joe Musgrove no-hit the Texas Rangers, the Reds’ Wade Miley no-hit Cleveland and the White Sox’s Carlos Rodon also no-hit Cleveland.
Free Press sports writer Ryan Ford contributed to this report.
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