Every no-hitter comes with that play, the one that saves a no-hitter and will always tie the fielder to the pitcher’s accomplishment. In the case of James Paxton’s entrance into history, it was Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager who made that play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, the Blue Jays’ Kevin Pilllar hit a Statcast-measured 109 mph grounder down the left field line, right in the hole where sharp grounders can elude third basemen. Seager, who won a Gold Glove at third base in 2014, made the difference.
The veteran managed to dive toward the foul line and reel in the shot, then jump to his feet and make a one-hop throw and throw out the speedy Pillar from across the diamond. The play had no bigger fan than first baseman Ryon Healy, who pointed his finger at Seager and pumped his arm.
“You try to make the play all the time, but, man, that ball gets by you and it’s going to be hard to get any sleep tonight,” Seager said to Root Sports Northwest. “Might be hard to get it anyway, but it was just an unbelievably good game by Paxton.”
It was also Seager who made the final play to seal Paxton’s no-hitter. While it was an easier grounder than his previous play, it wasn’t quite as easy as Seager hoped.
“It’s such a crazy feeling, it’s hard to describe,” Seager said. “You legitimately want the ball hit to you, but you want the ball to be, like, a pop-up in foul territory. That’s what I was truly hoping for. Either a strikeout or a pop-up in foul territory, those are my two options.”
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