The A's and Braves began an Interleague series on Friday night in Oakland, and Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz was up for the task. For eight innings, he breezed through the A's lineup, mixing his pitches and keeping them from tallying anything in the "H" column on the scoreboard.
He was just dealing:
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Atlanta was up, 3-0, and Foltynewicz was looking to become the first Brave to throw a no-hitter since Kent Mercker in 1994. But it wasn't meant to be, as A's slugger Matt Olson led off the ninth and ended this discussion with authority by blasting a solo homer to the right-field bleachers:
This was important for more than just the fact that it ended Foltynewicz's attempt. You see, no team has been more adept at preventing no-hitters than the A's. Atlanta held on to win, 3-1, on Friday, but it was the 4,139th consecutive A's game with at least one base hit. Every other MLB team has been no-hit at least once since the last time it was done against Oakland -- a combined effort by the Orioles' Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson on July 13, 1991, at the Coliseum. There have been 69 qualifying no-hitters thrown in MLB since that day, but zero of them have come against the A's.
Olson's no-no-busting power isn't that surprising when you also realize the A's are good at doing this in the ninth inning, when there are no more "we'll get 'em next inning" thoughts available. Just last season, Colby Lewis saw an eight-inning no-hit bid end when Max Muncy led off the ninth with a double to right field:
And back in June 2007, Shannon Stewart and the A's were down to their last out, facing a dominant Curt Schilling, who came this close to throwing a no-hitter of his own at the Coliseum:
In all, Olson's homer marked the sixth time since that 1991 no-hitter by the Orioles that they had ended a would-be no-hitter in the ninth inning. In addition to those seen above, the others came from Mike Gallego in 1991 (against Randy Johnson), Lance Blankenship in 1993 (also against Randy Johnson) and Jose Herrera in 1996 (against Mariano Rivera).
The A's are no strangers to prolonged streaks, of course, so it probably isn't terribly surprising to see any of this coming from the Green and Gold. But still, 4,139 games without being no-hit? That's wild.