Tyler Gilbert, who has spent most of the 2021 season in the Reno Aces' rotation, tossed one of Major League Baseball's most unlikely no-hitters Saturday.
The 27-year-old, who made his big-league debut this season, became just the fourth player to throw a no-hitter in his first major-league start, joining Bobo Holloman (in 1953), Bumpus Jones (1892) and Ted Breitenstein (1891). Only the no-hitters from Gilbert and Holloman came at the modern pitcher's mound distance of 60 feet, 6 inches.
Gilbert had pitched three times this season, all in relief, before his Saturday start against the Padres, a 7-0 win. Gilbert had thrown 3.2 innings, allowing no runs with five strikeouts, in relief. In his no-hitter, Gilbert struck out five and walked three (each time against Tommy Pham) of the 28 batters he faced, just one over the minimum.
Gilbert was scheduled to be limited to 85 pitches but tossed 102, including only three in the eighth inning. He induced 13 flyouts, seven groundouts, five lineouts and one popup. Catching his no-hitter was Dalton Varsho, who has spent much of his 2021 season with the Aces as well.
A lefty, Gilbert was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2015 draft out of USC. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Kyle Garlick in February 2020 before being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2020 rule 5 minor-league draft last December. This was Gilbert's first season in Arizona's system, with the Diamondbacks converting him into a starting pitcher.
From 2017-20, Gilbert started just one minor-league game, that coming in 2017. He's been a relief pitcher the last four seasons before moving into the rotation with the Reno Aces, where he started 10 of his 11 appearances. In Reno, Gilbert was 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA, a strong mark in the hitter-friendly Triple-A West. In 52.1 innings, Gilbert had 50 strikeouts against 19 walks and posted a 1.24 WHIP. That earned him a call up to the big leagues in early August, making his debut 11 days before his no-hitter.
Gilbert's no-hitter was the eighth this year, which tied a single-season MLB record. It was the third no-hitter in Diamondbacks history, joining Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004 and Edwin Jackson's 149-pitch no-hitter in 2010, although this was the first home no-hitter in Arizona's history.
Gilbert's second start is scheduled to come Friday at the Colorado Rockies. He'll try and become the second MLB pitcher to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts, something accomplished only once, by Johnny Vander Meer in 1938.