MIAMI — Edinson Volquez‘s day was nearly over after three pitches. And he strongly considered leaving the game after five innings because of sharp ankle pain.
A couple hours later, nothing was hurting.
He stuck around — and pitched the game of his life.
Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history, facing the minimum 27 batters on Saturday and beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0. Volquez (2-7) struck out 10, and the two baserunners who reached on walks were erased by double plays.
He needed 98 pitches, the last of those striking out Chris Owings to complete the masterpiece.
“When I passed the seventh, I said, ‘I’m going to go for it,'” Volquez said. “And I got it.”
It’s the first no-hitter in the majors this season, and the first time Arizona was no-hit since the Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez threw one on Sept. 6, 2006.
Volquez was nearly knocked out of the game after just one batter, when he collided with Diamondbacks leadoff man Rey Fuentes as he covered first, rolled his ankle and took a hard fall to the turf.
“I thought I broke my ankle,” he kidded after the game.
Alas, that was the only hit the Diamondbacks got. Luckily for Volquez, body blows don’t show up in the scorebook.
The 33-year-old righty was one of the pitchers the Marlins brought in this past offseason in part to fill the void caused by the death of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash last September — and who was on Volquez’s mind as Saturday’s game went along.
His first season in Miami started about as badly as possible; the Marlins lost eight of his first nine starts and Volquez dropped his first seven decisions. Tied for the major league lead in losses going into Saturday, he was nearly perfect.
“Just a lot of things lined up,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “And his stuff was really, really good.”
Nick Ahmed — who broke up a no-hit bid by Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson in the eighth inning one week earlier — led off the ninth for Arizona and struck out on four pitches. Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso came up, and after falling behind 2-0 lead in the count, Volquez stopped for a moment, composed himself with a deep breath, and eventually got the strikeout on a 2-2 fastball.
That left it up to Owings, another pinch-hitter.
And then came a swing and a miss for strike three, one that got away from catcher J.T. Realmuto for a brief moment before he fired to Justin Bour at first to seal the no-hitter as the Marlins swarmed the field in celebration.
It was the Marlins’ first no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez pitched one against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 regular season.
Bour had two hits and two RBI for the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton scored twice and Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna both had two hits. Miami gave Volquez two insurance runs in the eighth, though they were hardly needed.
Randall Delgado (1-1) gave up six hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings for Arizona.
Volquez threw a one-hitter for San Diego against Houston on July 19, 2012 — the only blemish that night coming on a fourth-inning infield single by the Astros’ Matt Downs.
That was one of his rare flirtations with this kind of history. Another came in 2014, when he had a no-no bid for Pittsburgh snapped on a leadoff single in the seventh by Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco.
Other than that, this was uncharted waters.
Volquez is the epitome of a baseball journeyman. The Marlins are his seventh franchise in his 13 big league seasons, and the native of the Dominican Republic came into Saturday with just a 90-86 career record.
He was an All-Star in 2008, when he went 17-6 with Cincinnati and was basically the lone bright spot for the Reds in what was a dismal season.
In 2015, Volquez helped Kansas City win the World Series crown. He started Game 1 on the same day his father died.
“This is one of those days, you didn’t know what was going to happen,” Volquez said. “And today I had a no hitter.”
Diamondbacks: Arizona rested Owings (3 for his last 22, before the appearance in the ninth) and LF Yasmany Tomas (3 for his last 25). OF Gregor Blanco (thumb) was out of the lineup for a second straight day, and the Diamondbacks said RHP Braden Shipley will start in place of RHP Taijuan Walker (blister) on Sunday.
Marlins: 3B Martin Prado (hamstring) has been taking ground balls and is continuing to work his way back, with the expectation remaining that he could return within two weeks. Saturday’s was the 24th game Prado has missed since getting hurt in early May.
BARK AT THE PARK
Fans could bring their dogs (and many did, since barking was heard all day throughout Marlins Park) to Saturday’s game, part of an event designed to support the Humane Society of Greater Miami. Pet adoption services were also on-site, and shortstop JT Riddle said he “almost left with a couple dogs.”
Shipley (0-1, 6.75) makes his second start of the season for Arizona, against Miami’s Vance Worley (0-2, 4.50) in the series finale.