The Angels poured out of their dugout and mobbed pitcher Reid Detmers after the 22-year-old left-hander completed the 12th no-hitter in franchise history Tuesday night, the dogpile generating so much momentum that it pushed itself from the mound into foul territory in front of the first-base dugout.
The rookie Detmers, who struck out two and walked one in an efficient if not overpowering 108-pitch effort in a 12-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, rode the wave of humanity and emotion like it was the Banzai Pipeline, from the traditional on-field, energy drink dousing to the clubhouse celebration to the interview room.
“Getting the last out,” Detmers said without hesitation, when asked what the coolest part of the evening was. “It’s just something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a little kid. I didn’t think it would ever happen. Yeah … I don’t even know. I probably won’t even remember this tomorrow morning.”
The crowd of 39,313 in Angel Stadium and Detmers’ teammates — especially catcher Chad Wallach — and coaches will. Wallach, the Yorba Linda native and son of former Dodgers third baseman Tim Wallach, hit a three-run homer and caught his first no-hitter in his second career game with the Angels.
So, what does he do for an encore?
“Try to do it again,” Wallach said. “It was incredible. Getting to work with him and watching him pitch tonight was something special. I’ll never forget it.”
The gem by Detmers, a first-round pick out of Louisville in 2020, was the 10th individual no-hitter in franchise history and the first since the emotional combined effort of Taylor Cole and Felix Peña on July 12, 2019, against the Seattle Mariners, the team’s first home game after the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The last individual no-hitter was by Jered Weaver against the Minnesota Twins on May 2, 2012, in Angel Stadium.
“Bully for him,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I mean, that’s potentially a life-altering event for a young man, as a major league player. Hopefully, we’re gonna get a lot of residue out of that in the future because he’s capable.
“Of course, no hitters don’t happen all the time. I’m just saying that’s how he should pitch. That’s what he should look like more often.”
Detmers, who had never thrown more than six innings in a big league game, and who was occasionally effective but mostly erratic in his first five starts this season, going 1-1 with a 5.32 ERA, became the youngest in Angels franchise history to throw a no-hitter.
“He’s got great command, good stuff, great makeup, but I don’t think he’s actually executed a game plan with any kind of consistency,” Maddon said before the game. “He’s gonna get better, but to this point, we haven’t seen the best side of him yet.”
They did Tuesday night. Detmers’ fastball averaged only 92.3 mph and topped out at 93.9 mph, but he mixed it with a 72.6-mph curve, 83.6-mph changeup and 82.6-mph slider, and he pitched aggressively with precision inside.
He leaned heavily on his changeup, throwing the offspeed pitch 24 times. The most he had previously thrown his changeup in a game was nine times.
“Left-handers need to pitch inside right-handers, and vice versa,” Maddon said. “We haven’t been able to get him in there, but if he learns to do that on a regular basis with the other stuff that he has, that’s going to be a big part of his success.”
So will the confidence Detmers pitched with Tuesday night. The last Angels left-hander to throw a no-hitter was Clyde Wright on July 3, 1970, versus the Oakland A’s.
“He just had a much better mound presence,” Maddon said. “He just looked and felt the part tonight.”
Detmers had a perfect game through five innings. The closest the Rays came to a hit was in the fourth, when Angels left fielder Brandon Marsh raced in to make a catch of a Harold Ramirez flare. His full-count curve to Taylor Walls to open the sixth was up and away for ball four, ending his perfect-game bid.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon made a leaping catch of a Vidal Brujan line drive for the first out. First baseman Jared Walsh made a back-hand grab of Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder down the line, stepped on the bag and fired to second to complete an inning-ending doble play.
With one out in the seventh, Brett Phillips hit a hard grounder to the right of Walsh, who bobbled the ball and was unable to pick it up in time to throw to Detmers at the bag. Official scorer Mel Franks took a little extra time before ruling the play an error.
The fans cheered the scoring decision. So did Walsh, who clapped his hands.
“There was no question it was an error,” Walsh said. “I heard the fans, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I agree. Let’s go.’”
Ramirez followed with a 383-foot drive that Marsh caught at the wall in left field, and Randy Arozarena flied out. Reid breezed through a one-two-three eighth, got the first two outs of the ninth and threw two strikes to Yandy Diaz before Diaz grounded out to shortstop Andrew Velazquez for the final out.
“The only time I got nervous was when I got two strikes on the last batter,” Detmers said. “I was shaking a little bit. But other than that, I tried to keep myself pretty calm.”
The Angels provided a huge, early cushion for Detmers by pounding Rays right-hander Corey Kluber, a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, for eight runs and 11 hits in three innings.
Mike Trout singled and scored in the first, hit a solo homer in the second and a two-run shot in the eighth. Wallach hit his three-run homer in the third. Velazquez had three of his team’s 18 hits.
The game got so far out of hand in the eighth that Rendon, batting from the left side against Brett Phillips, a position-player-turned-pitcher, lined a two-run homer to right field to cap a four-run inning.
“I’m standing there, and all of a sudden, [coach Mike Gallego] says, ‘He has a different helmet on,’” Maddon said. “I thought was great theater. It was the perfect time to pull it off. I mean baseball is looking for moments like that. The crowd responded properly. No disrespect to the other side.”