Just over a week after Domingo German spun a perfect game in Oakland, we saw some more baseball history on Saturday afternoon in Detroit. Three Detroit Tigers pitchers combined to no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays in a 2-0 win — less than 24 hours after getting pounded to the tune of 12 runs on 14 hits.
Starter Matt Manning did most of the heavy lifting, navigating 6.2 hitless innings while walking three and striking out five. The righty had only thrown 91 pitches, but with the tying run on base — and with Manning still working his way back from an extended IL stint — Detroit manager A.J. Hinch decided to go to the bullpen.
The move paid off, as Jason Foley got out of the seventh and then pitched a clean eighth. Foley then gave way to Alex Lange, the Tigers’ embattled closer who’d put up a 9.53 ERA since the start of June. But Lange came through in a big way, striking out Bo Bichette before getting a fly-out from Brandon Belt and a grounder from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to seal the no-no.
HISTORY! A DETROIT TIGERS COMBINED NO-HITTER!— Woodward Sports Network (@woodwardsports) July 8, 2023
Matt Manning, Jason Foley, and Alex Lange combined for the 9th no-hitter in Detroit Tigers history!
: @BallySportsDET | #RepDetroit pic.twitter.com/rRaMlTLpET
Hinch’s decision to pull Manning with an active no-hitter will no doubt come under some scrutiny, but it’s hard to second-guess him — especially given how things worked out. A top-10 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the 25-year-old Manning remains very much part of the team’s future, and Saturday marked just his second start since missing two-and-a-half months with a fractured bone in his foot.
He threw only 84 pitches in his return outing last week, and he was noticeably tiring in the seventh, going to a 3-0 count on his first hitter and a 3-2 count on the second before walking Cavan Biggio. With the tying run coming to the plate and the Tigers in desperate need of a win, you can understand Hinch deciding to go to the bullpen one batter early rather than one batter too late.
The no-hitter is the ninth in Tigers history (well, tenth, if you want to include Armando Galarraga). The most recent one was of the more traditional variety, courtesy of Spencer Turnbull on May 21, 2021. Justin Verlander had a pair during his time in Detroit, but prior to that, you need to go all the way back to 1984 — when Jack Morris pulled it off amid the team’s magical run to the World Series. The Tigers had never had a combined no-hitter.
There have now been 320 no-hitters in MLB history. German’s perfect game was the only one so far in 2023 prior to Saturday.