Baseball / Sports

Dodgers' Josh Beckett throws no-hitter, beats Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- The black bat never left Chase Utley's shoulder, not when Josh Beckett fired a 94-mph fastball past him, and not while he sauntered to the Phillies dugout. Beckett, the 34-year-old Texan, opened his arms Sunday for a hug. At 4:18 p.m., he became the first pitcher in 36 years to throw a no-hitter against the Phillies.

The Dodgers won, 6-0. Beckett needed 128 pitches, a career-high, and completed the no-hitter in 2 hours, 47 minutes.

There were no challenging plays made behind him. The Phillies, on a day when fans received Wiffle ball bats with Ryne Sandberg's signature, were lifeless. This is not a new phenomenon.

It was the sixth shutout loss for the Phillies in their last 18 games. They are 21-26, their worst record through 47 games since 2005. Hope for contention is scant, especially after a deflating afternoon like Sunday.

The last pitcher to no-hit the Phillies was St. Louis' Bob Forsch on April 16, 1978. Larry Bowa, the Phillies bench coach, was 0 for 4 and recorded the 27th out, a grounder to third. Mike Schmidt, a broadcaster for Sunday's game, went 0 for 3.

That 36-year streak of avoiding futility was topped only by the Chicago Cubs, who were last no-hit when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game Sept. 9, 1965.

The ninth inning provided drama. Tony Gwynn Jr. pinch-hit and skied one to the shortstop. Ben Revere grounded one to Adrian Gonzalez, who flipped to Beckett amid cheers. Jimmy Rollins worked a full count and walked.

Utley took a curveball and dashed for first, thinking he walked. Home-plate umpire Brian Knight called a strike. Beckett's next pitch was his final one.

Domonic Brown hit the hardest ball, a liner right at Dodgers leftfielder Carl Crawford in the fifth inning. The rest of the Phillies were retired with relative ease. Just Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd reached, each on walks. Beckett retired the final 24 batters he faced. He threw to Los Angeles' backup catcher, Drew Butera.

Beckett underwent surgery last summer to remove a rib that caused a nerve issue in his hand. He had surgery in 2013 to relieve pressure from a nerve in his neck. The former No. 2 overall draft pick used to throw a fastball that averaged 94 mph. That pitch sat around 92 mph on Sunday. When combined with a change-up and slow curve, it was unhittable.

He tallied a high pitch count in the early innings, but the Phillies could not make him work later. Beckett reached the sixth at 90 pitches. He threw 10 in the seventh and 10 more in the eighth. It was too easy.

The lethargy spread to the field. A.J. Burnett allowed a run just four batters into the afternoon. The righthander, a former Florida Marlins teammate of Beckett, never established command of his pitches. Justin Turner homered in the second.

Los Angeles put the game away with a three-run seventh. It generated further embarrassment for Domonic Brown, one of the game's worst everyday players in terms of OPS. Yasiel Puig grounded a single to Brown. The leftfielder lackadaisically approached it, and Puig never stopped. He slid into second with a hustle double. The fans booed.

The ultimate indignity happened two innings later, and Phillies fans recorded it on their smartphones. They stood to applaud an opponent.

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