Mariners pitcher James Paxton picked the perfect spot for the best game of his career.
Paxton no-hit the Blue Jays in Seattle’s 5-0 victory Tuesday night in Toronto. In doing so, he became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in his home country.
It was a storybook moment for the 29-year-old from Ladner, British Columbia, whose nickname is “Big Maple” and who has Canada’s national symbol emblazoned on his right forearm.
The crowd of 20,513 at the Rogers Centre gave Paxton a standing ovation, and he acknowledged them by holding up his maple leaf tattoo.
Canadian pitcher James Paxton threw a no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday in a 5-0 win at the Rogers Centre. He hails from Ladner, B.C. Full story here: https://t.co/g6JkfDlb44 pic.twitter.com/fBb3PntbIm
— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) May 9, 2018
“You couldn’t write this stuff,” he told reporters after the game. “Pretty amazing to have it happen against the Blue Jays, at home in Canada.”
Paxton noted that his loved ones were able to watch in the stands and on television.
“I had some family here tonight and friends; special to share it with them,” he said. “And awesome that it was on TV in Ladner, B.C., on Rogers [Sportsnet]. Those are the only games they get over there, so the rest of my family and friends were able to watch, too.”
He is just the second Canadian to throw a no-hitter, along with Dick Fowler of the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics.
Paxton reached 100 mph on his fastball as he struck out seven Blue Jays. That was a big drop from the career-high 16 K’s he had in his previous start, a loss to Oakland.
His 99th pitch was to Josh Donaldson with two outs in the ninth. The Toronto slugger hit the ball hard to third baseman Kyle Seager, who collected it and fired to first for the final out.
Seager also made an incredible play with two outs in the seventh to keep the no-hitter alive, diving to stop a hard shot down the third base line by Kevin Pillar.
“If that ball gets by you, it’s going to be hard to get any sleep tonight,” Seager told reporters after the game.
Paxton also got help from Dee Gordon, who make a sliding catch on a sharp liner to center field in the eighth.
“What a defense tonight,” Paxton said after the game. “That was amazing. Those guys were making every play.”
He surrendered only three walks on the way to his second victory of the year. After a rough start to the season, he has had three straight quality starts and lowered his ERA to 3.40.
Paxton gained a lot of attention in April when a bald eagle tried to land on him during a home game against the Twins.
Since a bald eagle landed on James Paxton on 4/5, he's been outstanding. Paxton's had 3 double-digit strikeout performances. 16 K's in a loss his last time out. He follows that up with a no-hitter, becoming the first Canadian to accomplish the feat in his home country. #Mariners pic.twitter.com/vWUb1jnNzg
— Bill Wixey (@BillWixey) May 9, 2018
Wade LeBlanc is slated to start Wednesday night when the Mariners play the second of three games in Toronto.
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