A’s Montas flirts with no-hitter in dominant effort against Mariners

OAKLAND – A’s starting pitcher Frankie Montas came within four outs of his first career no-hitter Thursday.

Montas had allowed just two walks in seven sterling innings for Oakland against the Seattle Mariners, but an opposite-field single by Adam Frazier with two outs broke up the bid for the 16th no-hitter in A’s franchise history.

With the A’s only leading by one run at the time, Montas then allowed a single to Luis Torrens to put runners on first and second. But Montas got J.P Crawford to ground out to first base to preserve the lead, as he punched his glove as he walked off the Coliseum mound.

Using his trademark splitter and a dominant fastball that touched 99 mph, Montas, on a warm afternoon, repeatedly burned through the Mariners lineup and had eight strikeouts and just two walks after seven complete.

There have been 15 no-hitters in A’s franchise history, including two others in the last five years.

The last A’s no-hitters were by Sean Manaea on April 21, 2018, against the Boston Red Sox, and by Mike Fiers on May 7, 2019, against the Cincinnati Reds. Other A’s pitchers to no-hit opponents include Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, and Dave Stewart.

Montas needed just 55 pitches to get through the first five innings, as he threw 39 strikes to help collect six strikeouts.

Montas’ first blemish came on a walk to Tyler Trammell with two outs in the second inning, as he just missed low with a 98 four-seam fastball. After that, Montas retired 14 straight batters before he walked Jesse Winker with two outs in the seventh.

Montas struck out four and allowed just one walk through the first four innings. Two of his strikeouts came on split-finger fastballs and two others came on four-seamers.

Prior to Thursday, Montas had been having a frustrating season at home, owning a 1-5 despite a 2.72 ERA in nine starts at the Coliseum, a loss total that was tied for the Major League lead before Thursday’s game.

The A’s lone run came in the first inning, as a Christian Bethancourt single to left scored Sheldon Neuse from second base.

The A’s have struggled to give Montas decent run support all season. Before Thursday, Montas had received one run or fewer of support in 10 of 14 starts, which included four starts with no run support.

Montas went 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in his first three starts, but it’s been a struggle for the right-hander ever since.

Prior to Thursday, Montas was 1-6 with a 3.50 ERA (25 earned runs in 64.1 innings) in 11 starts since the first three games. For the season, Montas had allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 14 starts.

Montas’ longest stretch of no-hit baseball in his MLB career before Thursday came on Opening Night at the Coliseum, when he didn’t allow a hit in 4 ⅔ innings in the A’s 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on April 18.

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