Zach Davies and three Chicago Cubs relievers combined for the majors’ seventh no-hitter of the season on Thursday night, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 and tying the record for most in a single baseball season since 1900.
The Dodgers drew eight walks, one from each Cubs pitcher, but generated no additional baserunners.
Davies (5-4) struck out five batters and threw 94 pitches in six innings against the defending World Series champions in his 16th start with the Cubs.
Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin of Chicago each walked a batter in their lone inning, but Los Angeles was unable to capitalize.
Craig Kimbrel walked Chris Taylor to begin the ninth inning, but the ferocious closer then struck out Cody Bellinger, Albert Pujols, and pinch-hitter Will Smith to complete the 17th no-hitter in Cubs history — the team’s first combined effort.
“I believe they were all in need of a walk, just to get my heart rate up a little bit,” Cubs manager David Ross said.
“By the ninth inning, I’m not sure I’ve ever been as nervous with a 4-0 lead and Craig Kimbrel on the mound as I was tonight.”
Javier Báez hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and Willson Contreras added a two-run shot in the sixth for the Cubs, who joyfully celebrated their first no-hitter since Alec Mills blanked Milwaukee on Sept. 13.
This season’s seventh no-hitter was the first since May 19. Earlier Thursday, the Boston Red Sox advanced to the eighth inning of a bid for a combined no-hitter, but lost the no-no and the game to Tampa Bay.
With this 312th no-hitter in baseball history, 2021 ties 1990, 1991, 2012, and 2015 for the most in a single Major League Baseball season since 1900. That is one short of the record eight established in 1884, the first season in which overhand pitching was permitted.
Davies stated, “This is an incredible moment.” “The World Series, I believe, is probably the best. However, even though it was not a solo endeavor, being a part of history is something special.”
Davies stated that each of his relievers claimed they were unaware they were working on a combined no-hitter until they completed their respective innings.
“I believe that every pitcher, regardless of his pitch count, wishes to continue in the game, but it worked,” Davies said. “Chafe, Tep, and Craig all slammed the door shut. A footnote in history. I’m ecstatic for the guys on the field. I have no cause for complaint.”
The Cubs accomplished something far more difficult than pitching a no-hitter over the last two seasons: they defeated Walker Buehler, who had won 23 consecutive regular-season starts.
Buehler suffered his first loss since Sept. 21, 2019, despite pitching six innings of five-hit ball for the Dodgers. Buehler pitched six innings for the 17th consecutive start, but his streak of 30 consecutive games without a loss came to an end.
The Dodgers were outmatched against the Cubs one night after being swept by the San Diego Padres for the first time since 2013.
The Dodgers had not been no-hit since Aug. 30, 2015, at Chavez Ravine, when they were blanked by Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta — who is scheduled to pitch for Chicago on Friday night.
Davies made a strong comeback after surrendering a career-high eight runs in his previous start against Miami. These eight runs were the same as the total he had allowed in his previous six starts combined, and he regained his previous high level of performance at Dodger Stadium.
Davies, however, continued to struggle with control in Chavez Ravine. He walked two batters in the first inning before inducing a ground out by Pujols to end the inning.
In the third and fourth innings, he walked the leadoff batter but avoided further trouble. His first 1-2-3 inning came in the fifth, and he also retired the Dodgers in order in the sixth.
The Dodgers came closest to a hit in the first inning when Rafael Ortega caught Taylor’s line drive to center.
Davies has never thrown a complete game in his seven-year major league career, which began in Milwaukee and ended last year in San Diego.
Tepera, Chicago’s busiest reliever, walked Gavin Lux with two outs in the seventh. Austin Barnes lined out to second to bring the inning to a close.
With one out, Chafin walked Mookie Betts, but Max Muncy grounded to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who stepped on the bag and threw to second for an easy double play.
The last time the majors saw a combined no-hitter was Aug. 3, 2019, when Aaron Sanchez and three Houston relievers blanked Seattle 9-0.
Buehler (7-1) pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Arizona last Saturday, tying the Dodgers’ franchise record for consecutive regular-season starts without a loss. He pitched six innings for the 15th time this season on Thursday, but he has yet to defeat the Cubs.
Báez returned to the Chicago dugout after hitting his 17th home run of the season, to a chorus of jeers and cheers from the Cubs’ sizable fan contingent in Los Angeles. Buehler recovered and remained out of trouble until the sixth inning, when Contreras smacked him in the face.
In the seventh inning, Chicago added another run when Jason Heyward singled and scored on Jake Marisnick’s RBI single off David Price.