Fresh off no-hitter, O’s John Means returns to mound vs. Mets

MLB Baseball

In his last start, John Means achieved something no Baltimore Orioles pitcher had done in more than 50 years. On Tuesday night, he’ll try to match a feat last performed more than 80 years ago — as well as achieve what he did the last time he batted in a National League park.

Means will look to join Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters when he takes the mound Tuesday as the visiting Orioles open a two-game interleague series against the New York Mets. Vander Meer threw back-to-back no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds on June 11 and June 15, 1938.

The left-handed Means (4-0, 1.37 ERA) is slated to oppose right-hander Marcus Stroman (3-3, 2.12 ERA).

The Orioles avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the visiting Boston Red Sox Monday night, when Trey Mancini had a homer and two RBIs in a 4-1 win. The Mets last played Sunday, when they completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks with a 4-2 victory.

Means made history last Wednesday, when he came as close as possible to throwing a perfect game without doing so by striking out 12, walking none and facing the minimum 27 batters in a 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

It was the sixth no-hitter since the Orioles moved to Baltimore, the first since a quartet of pitchers — Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson — combined to no-hit the Oakland Athletics on July 13, 1991. It was the first solo no-hitter by a Baltimore pitcher since Hall of Famer Jim Palmer’s gem against the Athletics on Aug. 13, 1969.

The lone baserunner for Seattle was Sam Haggerty, who struck out in the third inning but took first base on a wild pitch. Haggerty was caught stealing on the next pitch. It was the first no-hitter in which no one reached base via an error, walk or hit batsman.

Means, who was named the American League Player of the Week Monday, said he hasn’t had too much time to reflect on the feat.

“It’s been crazy, but it hasn’t really set in still,” Means said. “I don’t think we’re really going to be able to look back at this until the offseason because I’m just so locked into this season and locked into just getting ready every five days.”

That preparation is a little more involved heading into a National League park.

“I’m just trying to pitch against the Mets and maybe get a hit,” said Means, whose single against the Diamondbacks on July 24, 2019 remains the most recent hit by an Orioles pitcher.

The Mets will take the field Tuesday about 24 hours removed from getting some good news about ace Jacob deGrom, who exited Sunday’s start after five innings due to right side tightness. The team announced Monday an MRI administered to deGrom showed no damage, though he will be placed on the injured list Tuesday. DeGrom, who has an 0.68 ERA, missed his previously scheduled start May 4 due to a sore right lat.

The absence of deGrom leaves Stroman as the Mets’ No. 1 starter. Stroman took the loss in his most recent start last Wednesday, when he gave up four runs (two earned) over five innings as New York fell to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1, in the opener of a doubleheader.

Means is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in two career starts against the Mets. Stroman is 5-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) against the Orioles.

–Field Level Media

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