06/26/10 12:01 AM ET
Four! Jackson joins elite no-hit group in 2010
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
With Armando Galarraga's would-be perfect game one blown call away from history, 2010 could have five games unblemished by hits this year by now. With four in the books already, the season is on its way toward possibly matching the all-time mark of seven, set in 1990 and then matched in 1991.
Indeed, it has been a good year to say yes to the no-no.
The Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez got the pitchers on the board early with his April 17 job against the Braves, and the A's Dallas Braden followed with a perfecto on May 9. After the Phillies' Roy Halladay delivered a perfect game against the Marlins on May 27, the drama of Galarraga and umpire Jim Joyce's call on what would have been the 27th out unfolded on June 2.
Then came Jackson's 149-pitch, eight-walk outing on Friday night, giving the National League three no-hitters in a season for the first time since 1991.
Here's a quick glance at each of the historic mound efforts this season.
Jimenez: After three near no-no's in April by other pitchers, Jimenez worked a no-doubter, still pushing the radar gun toward 100 mph in the final innings for the first no-hitter in Rockies history.
"He wasn't tired, believe me," Braves manager Bobby Cox said afterward. "He could have thrown 150 pitches and he would have been throwing 98 [mph]."
As it was, Jimenez worked through 128 pitches, delivering from the stretch for much of the game to keep his control in check. Center fielder Dexter Fowler came up with a history-saving catch on Troy Glaus' liner to lead off the seventh inning, backhanding the ball before sliding on his chest into left-center.
Jimenez got Brian McCann to ground out to second base for the final out, sending the black-clad Rockies into a celebration on the Turner Field infield -- and putting the 26-year-old on a star track that has him at 13-1 with a 1.60 ERA through 15 starts.
Braden: It was Mother's Day, and Braden's grandmother -- who had raised him since his mother died of cancer when he was a teen -- was in Oakland from his nearby hometown, Stockton, for the occasion. It turned into the best Mother's Day present a grandmother could ever want: perfection.
"It hasn't been a joyous day for me in a while," Braden said of Mother's Day. "But to know that I still get to come out and compete and play a game on that day, that makes it a little better. With my grandma in the stands, that makes it a lot better. To be able to give her this today was perfect."
Said grandmother Peggy Lindsey: "I told him, 'Your mom would be so proud.'"
Braden ran up a three-ball count to just four hitters, needing just 109 pitches to get through the 27 Rays without a blemish. Before a groundout to Cliff Pennington ended it and started the celebration at Oakland Coliseum, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff went into the dugout to catch an eighth-inning popup and outfielder Eric Patterson dealt with a couple of missiles.
But for the most part, it was about Braden and his perfect command, the first A's perfecto since Catfish Hunter in 1968, and the perfect Mother's Day gift.
Halladay: Already making a huge impact with the Phillies upon arriving from Toronto in the offseason, Halladay was absolutely dominant in beating Josh Johnson in a 1-0 pitchers' duel by not allowing a single baserunner for the second Phillies perfecto.
Halladay matched Jim Bunning's Father's Day 1964 performance with his usual workhorse effort, registering the eighth perfect game in the NL and the 10th Phillies no-hitter with 115 pitches and 11 strikeouts, still his season high.
"It's something you never think about," Halladay said. "It's hard to explain. There's days where things just kind of click and things happen, and it's something you obviously never go out and try and do. But it's a great feeling."
Jackson: After throwing more than 60 pitches over his first three innings, Jackson did not seem as though he was on his way to history. But by the time he threw his 149th pitch to get Jason Bartlett to ground out to shortstop Stephen Drew, he was feeling that great feeling Halladay mentioned
Facing his former team, Jackson delivered the second no-hitter in D-backs history, following Randy Johnson's 2004 perfect game. This one wasn't perfect, but Jackson actually saved his best for last -- striking out B.J. Upton to lead off the ninth before getting the decisive grounder up the middle to clinch it.
"I told [manager A.J. Hinch], 'I'm not coming out until I give up a home run or a hit,' " Jackson said. "I told him he could skip my next start, but I'm not coming out."
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.