— Sports

No-hitter means more for John Means and emerging Orioles


The Baltimore Orioles already had the season’s feel-good story with the return of Trey Mancini from colon cancer surgery. For over a month, the youngsters at the core of their rebuild have – perhaps surprisingly so – played well enough to hang around the .500 mark in the AL East.

And if they needed additional proof they have an ace on their pitching staff, John Means provided it on Wednesday. Throwing the first individual no-hitter by an Orioles pitcher in more than 50 years is plenty of affirmation.

“That’s the feeling you’re getting with John right now is, you go to the ballpark (John’s) on the mound, it’s going to be a fun night,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “That’s what you feel like when you have a number one or a top-of-the-rotation guy on the mound is when you get to the ballpark, we got an excellent chance to win this game.”

Means more than just improving to 4-0 on Wednesday. He etched himself in Orioles lore, throwing the first individual no-hitter by a Baltimore pitcher in 52 years in a 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

John Means

Early in a season that’s already been filled with several positives, this was another boost in efforts for Baltimore to return to prominence.

“I think we have an excellent team, and it’s about time people started to pay attention,” Means said.

Means was brilliant on the mound. He struck out 12, threw 26 first-pitch strikes, and rarely found himself in a three-ball count. His fastball was overpowering as it sat in the mid-90s and was spotted on the edges. His changeup left batters flailing.

Mix in a Seattle lineup that collectively struggled at the plate, and it was a perfect recipe for a bit of history.

The Orioles had a combined no-hitter in 1991, but Means was the first individual to finish a no-no since Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in 1969. Means understood how special it is to be a pitcher in Baltimore and mentioned it in the same breath as Palmer.

“I can’t put it into words. It’s just it’s such a crazy feeling. It’s such a whirlwind of an experience,” Means said.

The only blemish between Means and a perfect game was a breaking pitch in the dirt that struck out Sam Haggerty swinging but skipped past catcher Pedro Severino. It happened in the third inning, but even early in his outing, Means showed he had the stuff capable of something special.

“He was awesome today,” Seattle’s Kyle Seager said. “He was ahead of us all day. We were behind pretty much every single count.”

Means showed two years ago he had the potential to be an emerging breakout star for the Orioles when he went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA, was an All-Star selection, and finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

Last season, Means started poorly, but his final four starts were a precursor to what he’s done. In his final four outings of 2020, Means only went 2-2 but had a 1.52 ERA, and opponents hit just .146 against him.

And his start to 2021 couldn’t be much better. Means has thrown at least six innings in five of his seven starts. He’s allowed just seven earned runs in 46 innings, and opponents are hitting a meager .135.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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