Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes and closer Josh Hader combined to no-hit Cleveand on Saturday at Progressive Field. Theirs is the ninth no-hitter of the 2021 MLB season, which is an all-time record. Previously the 2021 season had been tied with the 1884 season with eight no-hitters. The NL Central-leading Brewers won the game by a score of 3-0 (box score) and are now 88-55 on the season.
This marks just the second no-hitter in Milwaukee Brewers franchise history. The first was twirled by Juan Nieves in 1987.
The historic performance also means that Cleveland’s 2021 squad becomes the first ever to be no-hit three times in the same season. Previously, Cleveland was no-hit by Carlos Rodón of the White Sox on April 14 and then by Wade Miley of the Reds on May 7. That made Cleveland just the third team in MLB history to be no-hit twice within their first 31 games of a season. Cleveland was also held hitless against the Rays on July 7 in the second game of a doubleheader. However, because doubleheaders this season span just seven innings, hitless games played under those conditions don’t count as no-hitters. Rather, it’s accurate to say Cleveland has been held without a hit in four games this season.
Also of note:
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell made the difficult decision to remove Burnes after the eighth inning, when he was at a career-high 115 pitches for the game. As well, Burnes, 26, coming into 2021 had never pitched more than 59 2/3 innings in a season at the highest level. After his start against Cleveland, he’s now at 152 for the year.
Burnes, who’s a Cy Young candidate in the National League, was dominant against an overmatched Cleveland lineup. Along the way, Burnes struck out 14 and spotted 78 of those 115 pitches for strikes. He entered Saturday with 196 strikeouts for the year, and those 14 Ks gives him the first 200-strikeout season of his career.
Burnes had retired 18 in a row before he walked Myles Straw to start the bottom of the seventh. He labored somewhat in that frame, taking longer between pitches and seeing a pair of three-ball counts after having just four prior to the seventh. However, he rebounded to strike out two of the four batters he faced that inning and retire the dangerous José Ramírez on a weak grounder.
Burnes and the Brewers very nearly lost their bid for history with two outs in the eighth, but fleet-footed center fielder Lorenzo Cain made a clutch grab of Owen Miller’s humpback liner to preserve the no-hitter:
That turned out to be final out of the night for Burnes. In typical Burnes fashion, he leaned heavily on his mid-90s cutter, which he offset with his hammer curve. He also mixed in his changeup and slider to great effect. After his gem, Burnes’ ERA for the season now stands at 2.25, and he’s struck out 210 while walking 29. To repeat, he’s a Cy Young contender.
In light of Milwaukee’s World Series aspirations, Counsell’s decision to lift his ace is understandable, albeit not easy. In the ninth, Hader pitched a perfect frame for his 31st save of the season. Burnes and Hader together had 16 strikeouts, which is the most ever in a combined no-hitter. Here’s the final out:
And here’s an updated look at the no-hitters of 2021:
As for the history-making Brewers, they now have the largest division lead in all of baseball, and they’re in the mix for top record in the National League. Saturday’s victory puts them on pace for the first 100-win season in franchise history.