The Oakland A’s are on a quest for 5,000 this season.
No, this isn’t some sort of joke about paltry attendance figures. The A’s have a chance to extend their hit streak to 5,000 games.
The A’s have gone longer without being on the wrong side of a no-hitter than any of the other 29 Major League franchises. They were last no-hit by Bob Milacki and three Baltimore Orioles relievers on July 13, 1991.
Since then, every other team has been the victim of a no-hitter. The A’s themselves have thrown three of them (Dallas Braden’s perfect game in 2010, Sean Manaea in 2018 and Mike Fiers in 2019). Over the last 32 years, A’s teams have ranged from losing 102 games to winning 103, but all of them have one thing in common: They’ve gotten at least one hit in all 4,929 games.
There have been some close calls, though. The 2022 team, whose 60-102 record was the franchise’s worst since 1979, was hitless through six innings on a pair of occasions. Elvis Andrus broke up Justin Verlander’s no-hit bid when he doubled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on June 1, and Conner Capel singled with two outs in the eighth off Shohei Ohtani on September 29 in Anaheim.
Ohtani awaits the A’s on Thursday night, and his Los Angeles Angels teammate, Patrick Sandoval, looms on Saturday after a strong showing for Mexico at the World Baseball Classic. The A’s also travel to Anaheim for a four-game series later in April.
Barring any rainouts or other postponements, game No. 5,000 would be June 15, a Thursday afternoon matinee against the Tampa Bay Rays. To get that far, the A’s will not only have to survive Ohtani, but also deal with the likes of Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and plenty of other aces.
Oakland inherited the longest streak on April 21, 2016 when Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds, ending Cincinnati’s 7,109-game run. A year earlier, Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs in his final game with the Philadelphia Phillies, ending a streak of 7,920 games that started in 1965.
Only once in the current 4,929-game run has an opposing pitcher gotten to two outs in the ninth. Failed video game entrepreneur-turned right-wing extremist Curt Schilling had the A’s on the ropes on June 7, 2007, only for Shannon Stewart to single through the hole on the right side. Opposing pitchers have made it to the ninth inning five other times; Randy Johnson did it twice for the Seattle Mariners within the streak’s first three years. Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves had the A’s hitless through eight innings on June 30, 2017, only for current Brave Matt Olson to lead off the ninth with a solo homer.
Ohtani’s September 2022 bid was the ninth to be broken up in the eighth inning, while 17 others, including Verlander’s, were thwarted in the seventh.
Behind the A’s, the Washington Nationals have the next longest streak. The last time they were no-hit was when they were still the Montreal Expos, who were victims of David Cone’s perfect game on July 18, 1999. Lane Thomas led off the bottom of the first inning on Thursday with a single, giving the franchise a hit in 3,697 consecutive games, including all 2,813 since moving to America.
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