Everyone at the Coliseum Saturday night knew they were witnessing something special.
Everyone except Sean Manaea, that is.
The A's 26-year-old left-hander didn't even realize he was throwing a no-hitter until the eighth inning.
“When Marcus (Semien) dropped that ball in the fifth inning, I just thought it was a hit,” Manaea laughed. “So from then until the eighth or ninth, I thought it was just a one-hitter. I didn't think it was a no-hitter. And then I looked up in the eighth and ninth, and I saw that there were still zeros. I was like, 'Whoa, that's weird.'”
In fact, Sandy Leon's pop up to shallow left field was ruled an error on Semien, and Manaea went on to throw his first career no-hitter, and the first in Major League Baseball this season, as the A's blanked the Red Sox, 3-0.
“Coming out for the ninth, my heart was beating out of my chest,” Manaea admitted. “I had to do everything I could to stay calm and not overdo things.”
Added A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy: “I've caught a lot of great pitchers in this game. I have eight years in the league now. And that was the most well-pitched, well-executed game I've ever had behind the plate.”
Simply put, Manaea was brilliant, from start to finish. He made the league's highest-scoring offense look foolish, recording 10 strikeouts and only allowing two walks.
“Honestly, it still doesn't feel real, even after the last out,” Manaea said. “I couldn't even imagine throwing a no-hitter in the big leagues, especially against a team like the Red Sox. It's an incredible feeling.”
“That's one of the best lineups in the league over there,” said Lucroy. “He just no-hit them. Being behind the plate for that, being able to watch it, being able to see what the ball was doing, watching the swings they were taking, they weren't very comfortable. As a catcher, that's really all you can ask for. It was a lot of fun.”
Manaea may not have known he was throwing a no-hitter, but his manager sure did. Not only did Bob Melvin not talk to Manaea, he refused to even look at him.
“I did not make eye contact with him after about the sixth inning,” Melvin joked. “He showed some emotion coming off the field after the eighth, which kind of surprised me a little bit. He normally doesn't show much emotion in what he does. When he got the last out of the eighth, it was almost like he could smell it.”
The biggest play of the game, aside from the final out, came in the sixth inning, when Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi nubbed one up along the first base line. A's first baseman Matt Olson fielded the ball and dove at Benintendi, who lunged to the side to avoid the tag.
Benintendi was initially ruled safe, but the umpires came together to discuss the play and determined he had run outside the basepath, calling him out.
“He started out on the grass and ended up on the grass on the other side,” Melvin said. “We have a 6'6'' first baseman who was fully (outstretched). So for me, three feet is kind of what they're talking about. And once you get out of the dirt area and onto the grass over there, it was out of the baseline.”
Manaea's no-hitter was the seventh in Oakland A's history and the first since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game in 2010. It marked the first time Boston had been no-hit since 1993, snapping a streak of 3,987 games.
What a night it was at the Coliseum.