Bumgarner pitches 7-inning no-hitter, Arizona sweeps Braves

MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner, center right, is congratulated after pitching a seven-inning no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves at the end of the second baseball game of a doubleheader Sunday, April 25, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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ATLANTA (AP) — Madison Bumgarner threw a seven-inning no-hitter, an achievement that won’t count in the Major League Baseball record book but completed a dominant day of Arizona Diamondbacks pitching for a 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves and a doubleheader sweep Sunday.

After Zac Gallen tossed a one-hitter to win the opener 5-0, Bumgarner did even better.

Bumgarner struck out seven and the only Braves batter who reached base against him came on shortstop Nick Ahmed’s throwing error in the second inning.

Bumgarner casually shook hands with catcher Carson Kelly after Marcell Ozuna lined out to end it. Then the rest of the Diamondbacks joined in with the tall left-hander and the celebration livened up around the mound.

Officially, Bumgarner’s gem won’t count in the list of no-hitters. MLB’s eight-man committee on statistical accuracy decided in 1991 that a no-hitter was a game of nine or more innings that ended with no hits.

Other pitchers had come close since Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB switched to seven-inning doubleheaders last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It feels good. I just want to say two things before I go celebrate with the guys,” Bumgarner said on a TV interview after the game. “I want to thank these shadows in Atlanta. They helped me out a good bit. That was awesome. And I want to thank Rob Manfred for making these seven-inning games.”

There have already been two official no-hitters this season.

Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-no in the history of the San Diego Padres when he topped Texas on April 9. Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox no-hit Cleveland on April 14.

Atlanta’s only hit during the afternoon was by reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman, who lined a clean single to right-center field off Gallen with one out in the sixth of the opener.

Bumgarner and Gallen, however, are officially credited with shutouts. This made Arizona the first team to throw a pair of complete-game shutouts in a doubleheader since Boston’s Reggie Cleveland and Don Aase at Toronto on Sept. 5, 1977.

Bumgarner (2-2) struck out Ronald Acuña Jr. to begin the seventh, then retired Freeman on a popup that Ahmed went a long way to get. Ozuna lined an easy fly to right fielder Josh Rojas for the final out.

The 2014 World Series MVP with San Francisco, the 31-year-old Bumgarner retired the last 17 batters after Ozzie Albies reached on Ahmed’ error leading off the second.

Making his 300th career start, Bumgarner has won his last two starts with a 0.75 ERA. He posted an 11.19 ERA in his first three starts this season.

Bumgarner likes to swing the bat, he got to the plate before throwing a pitch as the Diamondbacks scored five runs in the first off Drew Smyly (0-1). Pavin Smith and David Peralta homered during the burst.

Eduardo Escobar added his seventh homer to make it 6-0 in the third.

Smyly, who came off the injured list Saturday after missing six games with left elbow inflammation, went four innings.

In the first game, Gallen (1-0) struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.

Gallen found out after the game that he wouldn’t have qualified for an official no-hitter in a seven-inning game.

“It wouldn’t have counted, so that makes me feel better that it wasn’t actually a no-hitter anyway,” the 29-year-old righty said. “The complete-game shutout, I guess, works. That’s fine. We won. It really doesn’t matter. That’s the most important part.”

Gallen, who finished ninth in the NL Cy Young Award voting last year, threw his first complete game in 30 major league starts.

Arizona has won six of seven and seven of 10. The Diamondbacks went 7-3 on their road trip.

Stephen Vogt and Kole Calhoun homered off Bryse Wilson (1-1).

TRAINER’S ROOM

Ronald Acuña Jr. was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the first. … Braves LHP Max Fried, placed on injured list April 14 with a right hamstring strain, threw a side session and is getting closer to his return.

ROSTER MOVES

The D-backs released RHP Anthony Swarzak, who was designated for assignment on April 18. … The Braves made C William Contreras the club’s 27th man for the doubleheader. Arizona recalled RHP Riley Smith from the alternate training site to serve as its 27th man.

UP NEXT

RHP Charlie Morton (1-1, 3.91) will face Cubs RHP Zach Davies (1-2, 8.80) as Atlanta and Chicago begin a four-game series on Monday. RHP Merrill Kelly (1-2, 7.71) pitches for the Diamondbacks on Monday as the Arizona hosts San Diego to open a two-game series. The Padres’ starter has yet to be determined.

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