Miami Marlins: Today in history, A.J. Burnett no-hits Padres

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 23: A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins pitches during the game against the San Francisco Giants at SBC Park on July 23, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The Marlins defeated the Giants 4-1. (Photo by Don Smith /MLB Photos via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 23: A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins pitches during the game against the San Francisco Giants at SBC Park on July 23, 2005 in San Francisco, California. The Marlins defeated the Giants 4-1. (Photo by Don Smith /MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Any no-hitter is a thing of beauty. But for one night in Miami Marlins history, A.J. Burnett tried really hard to make us think otherwise.

If Miami Marlins manager John Boles had pulled A.J. Burnett in the third inning on May 12, 2001, most fans probably would have understood.

Honestly, a couple of gutty decisions like that might have helped him hold on to his job for more than another two weeks. But instead, he left Burnett out there- and the result was one of the ugliest no-hitters of all time, and third in Miami Marlins history. Oddly enough, almost five years to the day exactly after securing their first.

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Burnett’s final line on the night: 9 IP, 7 Ks, and NINE WALKS. 

If that sounds like it has to be the most walks ever allowed in a no-hitter, you’d only be wrong because managers used to leave starters out there for ten innings. Burnett missed the MLB record by one as a result.

Through three innings, Burnett had already walked five and thrown a wild pitch. In the fourth, he’d walk a sixth and hit a guy. For the entire game, he only managed to throw one more strike than he did balls.  By no means was it looking like a banner night for the Miami Marlins in the early goings, and unlike Miami’s previous two no-hitters, I can’t say I ever recall feeling confident the Marlins were actually going to win the game.

That said, I can remember watching this one like it was yesterday. The fact that the game was even on in my house was a bit of an accidental compromise. I was a junior in high school and getting ready to go out with some friends that night. My dad was not going anywhere, and getting ready to watch an old movie. The game was going off as soon as I left, and I was hoping to leave soon.

Thankfully, my friends communication skills tended to resemble Burnett’s early innings command, and no one could decide on an activity. So the game stayed on, really more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. And honestly, it was channel flipping early on. We’d actually missed the first inning entirely, and Burnett’s performance gave us no reason to believe we hadn’t missed a bloop single or something early on. It wasn’t until the fifth that the boxscore caught up with us.

By that point, my friends had finally landed on something to do. Which was also the point where I started being the one that was noncommittal. I wasn’t leaving that couch until Burnett, in what seemed inevitable at the time, gave up a hit.

Next. Today in Miami Marlins History: Two Franchise Milestones. dark

By the seventh, I stopped even pretending I might be leaving before it was over, and my dad had even stopped channel surfing. Two innings later, I’d witnessed my first no-hitter, and the Miami Marlins had defeated the San Diego Padres 3-0 to secure their third franchise no-no.