Oh, this was brutal. Braves second-year lefty Sean Newcomb—who’d never pitched a complete game, and who’d never pitched more than seven innings in a start, and who’d never thrown more than 111 pitches—gave up his first hit Sunday afternoon on a 2-2 single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
This looked very much like the real thing, right up until it didn’t. Newcomb even got the one signature clutch defensive play, from Dansby Swanson in the second inning:
Newcomb was pumping 95-mph heat in the ninth, and got a couple of harmless fly balls from Logan Forsythe and Cody Bellinger, and got as far as two strikes on Chris Taylor. So close! So agonizingly close. Taylor fouled a changeup just over the wall in foul territory, then jumped on a fastball over the plate and punched it into left field, past a diving Johan Camargo:
I am extremely into the Braves letting Newcomb throw a career-high 134 pitches on the afternoon, for his shot at history. Yes, it’s definitely an unwise way to treat the throwing arm of a 25-year-old, but a big-league no-hitter has got to be the dream of every pitcher. Newcomb wanted it. He wanted it badly enough to disgustedly throw away the game ball his manager handed him as a keepsake, while walking off the field. This was some good, high-drama baseball.
With no compelling reason to leave him out there to further grow that pitch count, Newcomb was immediately pulled after the no-no went bye bye. Braves fans let him hear it:
Taylor came around to score on a Manny Machado single, but the Braves won the game a batter later, 4-1.