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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Glory at last for James Paxton


Even if James Paxton had nearly touched Major League Baseball history in his previous outing, it wasn’t till last Tuesday when he managed to obtain one of the glories all pitchers pursue: a no-hitter. With the support of thousands of Canadians who forgave him beating the local team, Paxton got to celebrate the feat.

James Paxton looked at the stadium where he was applauded by some 20,000 Canadians. The pitcher pointed a finger at the large maple leaf tattooed on his right forearm. He was the visiting pitcher, but he had chosen the right place to launch the game of his life. He had been so close. As ESPN reports, in his previous outing, the Seattle Mariners lefty had a chance at history. He struck out 16 batters in seven innings, giving him a chance to tie or even break the record of 20 for a single game.

However, with his pitch count at 105, he was finished for the night and then watched his bullpen lost a 2-0 lead. But this Tuesday, in Toronto, Paxton became a prophet on his land by throwing a no-hitter for his team, in a 5-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Thus, he became the first Canadian in history to achieve this feat in his native country. He joined Dick Fowler, the only Canadian who had thrown a game without a hit, by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1945.

How did he take it? "A better script could not have been written," Paxton said. "It was incredible that it happened against the Blue Jays, at home, in Canada. Not bad, huh?” Originally from the province of British Columbia, Paxton pointed to the tattoo with the symbol of Canada, when he noticed that the crowd at the Rogers Center gave him a standing ovation in the last innings, regardless of whether he had annulled the local Blue Jays. “Of all the places to get this, doing it in Toronto was amazing,'' Paxton said. ''The fans were wonderful. They gave me some problems in the seventh inning, but once I got over that, in a way they started to encourage me, it was very nice.'' As it was mentioned before, in his previous start, Paxton (2-1) had 16 strikeouts, the highest number in his career. This time he performed remarkably again, with fastballs of up to 100 mph. For the last out, he beat Josh Donaldson on a grounder to end the game.

Paxton got seven strikeouts, three bases on balls and benefited from an outstanding play by third baseman Kyle Seager. With no outs in the seventh, Seager dived to stop a powerful shot by Kevin Pillar. The 29-year-old left-hander made 99 pitches to achieve the third no-hit game this year in the majors. Interestingly, the three matches with double zeroes have occurred in different countries. Previously, Sean Manaea of ​​the Oakland Athletics won one against the Boston Red Sox on April 21 in California. Four pitchers from the Los Angeles Dodgers combined to get the feat on Friday against San Diego Padres in the Mexican city of Monterrey.