On this day in 1990, Dave Stieb throws the first (and only) no-hitter in Blue Jays history
2 months ago
In his 12th season with the Blue Jays, right-hander Dave Stieb took the mound for his 27th start of the year, an afternoon game in Cleveland to take on the Indians (now known as the Guardians). Heading into this start, Stieb was boasting a 3.07 ERA while limiting opponents to a .229 batting average with 90 strikeouts through 161 innings as the calendar turned over into September.
It was on this day that Stieb would make history, as the veteran hurler would go nine innings without allowing a hit, the first and currently the only no-hitter in Toronto Blue Jays history.
Stieb started the day by getting the perfect game opportunity out of the way, walking lead-off batter Alex Cole before he was caught stealing second shortly after to get his first out of the game. He would also walk Carlos Baerga in the second inning before he too was caught stealing, with Pat Borders showcasing his arm behind the plate and keeping the hits off the board early.
Dave Stieb makes Blue Jays history by tossing a no-hitter against Cleveland
Stieb would bounce back in the bottom of the third inning, striking out the seventh, eighth, and nine hitters in the lineup and keeping the score knotted up at 0-0. The Blue Jays would get on the board in the top half of the fourth, with slugger Fred McGriff collecting a solo shot to left field that would later be the deciding run in the contest.
Another clean fourth and fifth innings would lead to a similar sixth, where Stieb once again struck out Cory Snyder, Tom Brookens, and Joel Skinner (7th, 8th, and 9th batters) to rack up eight punchouts heading into the seventh inning. Manuel Lee would add another solo home run for the Jays, giving the club a 2-0 advantage. After holding off Cleveland in the seventh, Stieb walked Ken Phelps to lead off the eighth inning but would strand the runner, getting the remaining batters to fly out to left and centre field to end the inning and get Stieb into the ninth.
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The Blue Jays would add some additional run support in the top of the ninth, with McGriff adding another solo shot to make the score 3-0 in the Jays favour.
With three batters left to face, Stieb had been in this position before but hadn’t been able to put the final bow on the game. He lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning back in 1985 and had three instances from 1988 to 1990 where the last batter was able to break the no-hit bid. In his last attempt with a perfect game on the line against the New York Yankees on August 4th, 1989, Roberto Kelly lined a double to left field as the last batter in the ninth inning and ended the bid for history.
Stieb would get the first two batters out before he walked Alex Cole again, with the outfielder taking second base but the team was focused on Jerry Browne at the plate, trying to get the last out that had plagued the California product from reaching the history books. With a 1-1 count, Browne lined a ball to right field that was handled easily by Junior Felix and Stieb had officially done it, pitching the Blue Jays first no-hitter in franchise history. On the day, Stieb would collect his 17th win on the year and lower his ERA to 2.91 on the season, facing 29 total batters on 123 pitches (61% strike rate) with four walks and nine strikeouts on record.
Stieb’s no-hitter remains the only one
Now 33 years later, Stieb’s feat remains the only no-hitter although the Blue Jays have been on the opposite side of history numerous times since 1990. The right-hander never really flirted with a no-hit bid again following that afternoon in Cleveland and injuries limited him over the next few seasons, although he did help the club win their first World Series two seasons later.
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