Sean Newcomb has been one of the main reasons for the Atlanta Braves’ resurgence in 2018, and on Sunday the 25-year-old left-hander came within one strike of a no-hitter in beating the Dodgers on at SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Newcombe struck out eight and had a 2-2 count on Chris Taylor with two outs in the ninth inning, before Taylor grounded a ball past a diving Johan Camargo at third base for the first hit of the game for Los Angeles.
Those 134 pitches for Newcomb are the most thrown in a Major League game in three seasons, when Mike Fiers also tossed 134 pitches in a no-hitter against the Dodgers.
Newcomb retired the first 15 batters of the game before walking Yasiel Puig to open the sixth inning. Newcomb retired his next 11 batters faced before Taylor’s single. That brought the hook from manager Brian Snitker, with Newcomb receiving a standing ovation as he left the game.
Manny Machado followed with a single against reliever Dan Winkler to spoil the shutout, but that was all for Los Angeles in a 4-1 Braves’ win to salvage the finale of a four-game series.
Newcomb lowered his ERA to 3.23 on the season in 20 starts, including 2.86 at home in Atlanta. Newcomb has been a part of a strong Braves starting rotation this season, whose collective 3.67 ERA ranks third in the National League.
The Braves are 1½ games back of the Phillies in the National League East, bidding for Atlanta’s first playoff appearance since 2013.
Sunday was already a milestone day for the franchise with longtime Braves star Chipper Jones inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It might have become even more special had Newcomb completed his gem.
The last no-hitter in Braves history was by Kent Mercker on Apr. 8, 1994, also against the Dodgers though in Los Angeles. That happened to be the 20th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s 715 career home run that moved him past Babe Ruth for the all-time home run lead.