Giants rookie induces 13 ground-ball outs in history-making performance
By Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- No matter the level or how obscure the location, the name will live on no matter which side of it you're on. That's why Mets catcher Anthony Recker was name-dropping after the Mets were no-hit by Chris Heston and the Giants in Tuesday's 5-0 loss at Citi Field.
Recker was thinking about Sean O'Sullivan, who has a 5.76 ERA and even worse career numbers against the Mets. O'Sullivan no-hit Recker's Sacremento River Cats when the two were in Triple-A in 2009. He never forgot O'Sullivan and now he won't forget Heston. None of the Mets will after the rookie right-hander became the seventh pitcher to no-hit New York and the first to toss a no-no in the Majors this season.
"You got to give him all the credit," Recker said. "Obviously he threw the ball well. Had some strikeouts, had some swing and misses ... and just beat us."
Heston struck out 11 and recorded 13 ground-ball outs and two flyouts. Six times the Mets struck out looking, courtesy of Heston's sharp curveball and aided by a strike zone many in the Mets clubhouse felt home-plate umpire Rob Drake expanded.
When they did put the ball in play, the Mets rarely pushed the envelope. Heston allowed one line drive, a foul ball. Neither of the fly balls threatened. As Statcast™ data shows, Heston's sinker kept the grounders weakly hit.
"What did we hit, one ball out of the infield? Two?" asked Mets manager Terry Collins. "That's pretty good pitching."
Only once did it appear the Mets might save themselves from dubious history. In the bottom of the eighth, Eric Campbell barreled up a grounder toward the hole at short. Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford slid to corral the ball and made a strong throw to nab Campbell. Crawford's play wasn't jaw-dropping, but it was as close as the Mets got to keeping Heston off the list of pitchers to no-hit New York. That list now stands at seven. The first: Sandy Koufax on June 30, 1962. The last before Heston: Darryl Kile on Sept. 8, 1993.
The Mets hadn't been no-hit at home since Pittsburgh's Bob Moose did it on Sept. 20, 1969.
That nugget and the final outcome aside, Collins said Heston didn't surprise at all.
"He was exactly what the scouting report said," Collins said. "Good sinker, good two-seamer, a lot of offspeed stuff."
With slugging catcher Travis d'Arnaud set to return from the disabled list Wednesday, maybe it's appropriate that Tuesday represented a low point for the struggling attack. But the Mets don't view it that way. Instead they see it as a blip they can sleep off and wake up with only a distant memory of it.
That memory, though, will prove a lasting one.
"This isn't the first time," Recker said. "Hopefully it's the last time. But it's baseball. You never know."
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.