The final out of the no-hitter was a bouncer to shortstop by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but Ha-Seong Kim, not Tatis, was there to handle it. Tatis, 22, crumpled to the dirt in pain after a swing in the fifth game of this season, and is out indefinitely with a slight labrum tear in his shoulder.
The injury dampened the excitement around the Padres, but Musgrove restored it with 112 dazzling pitches that included zero fastballs across the last three innings. Like his former Houston teammate, Lance McCullers Jr., throwing 24 consecutive curveballs to close out the Yankees in the 2017 playoffs, Musgrove shelved the most common pitch and kept pumping the ones that worked.
“We were just going to empty the tank out with my best stuff,” he said, “and the slider was the go-to weapon.”
The Padres’ catcher, Victor Caratini, also caught the majors’ last no-hitter by the Chicago Cubs’ Alec Mills last September. It was Mills’s first career complete game, as this was for Musgrove, in his 85th career start. It is so rare now for pitchers to throw nine innings that four of the last seven starters to throw a no-hitter had never before pitched a complete game.
Working nine innings had always been a goal, Musgrove said, reinforced by his habit of lining up nine pieces of gum on a towel in the dugout for each start. He chews a piece before each inning, he said, but had never finished all nine. He also leaves a pile of empty water bottles in the dugout to track his hydration; on Friday, he gulped down 11 or 12 while maintaining another ritual.
“That was the one thing I didn’t want to break the superstition of,” he said. “I didn’t want to have to use the bathroom in the middle of a start.”
Musgrove pitched like a man in a hurry. He said he had never thrown a no-hitter at any level, not even Little League, and in the early innings Friday, he doubted he would do so this time. This was his second start of the season, and he had not worked into the eighth since 2019.