Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beckett Baffles Phillies in First Career No-Hitter

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Beckett Baffles Phillies in First Career No-Hitter

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- The bat never left Chase Utley's shoulder, not when Josh Beckett fired a 94-mph fastball past him, not when he retreated to the Phillies dugout.

Beckett, the 34-year-old Texan, opened his arms Sunday for a hug. At 4:18 p.m., he became the first pitcher in 36 years to throw a no- hitter against the Phillies.

The Los Angeles Dodgers danced on the grass at Citizens Bank Park to celebrate a 6-0 win. Outfielder Scott Van Slyke yanked Beckett's blue cap from his head so teammates could tousle the pitcher's jet black hair. His transformation from a hard-throwing former top pick to a shrewd veteran pitcher crystallized in 2 hours, 37 minutes at the mercy of the Phillies.

"I knew the whole time," Beckett said. "I was actually joking about it in the fourth inning. I said I was waiting for them to get a hit. You don't think at this point of your career that you are going to do that."

There were no challenging plays made behind Beckett. The Phillies were lifeless. It was the sixth shutout loss for the Phillies in their past 18 games. They are 21-26, their worst record through 47 games since 2005.

"He was good," Jimmy Rollins said of Beckett. "There's no more to be said."

"It's definitely not a good feeling," Ben Revere said.

"I just thought he had real good stuff down to the last hitter," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

That last hitter was Utley, who worked a 3-1 count. He took Beckett's 127th pitch, an outside curveball, and dashed for first. But umpire Brian Knight called a strike, and the battle continued.

Beckett contemplated his strategy. He opted for a fastball.

"I was trying to think along with him," Beckett said. "I don't think he was looking for a fastball down the middle, especially when a guy has a no-hitter."

The pitch was close, but too close to watch with a no-hitter at stake. …

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