Nomo begins Red Sox career by no-hitting O's
Updated: Friday April 06, 2001 2:05 AM
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Another no-no for Hideo Nomo.
Nomo became the fourth pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter in both leagues, using his unique hesitation windup and a brilliant mix of offspeed pitches and high heat in Boston's 3-0 victory over Baltimore on Wednesday night.
"I felt pretty good throughout the game," Nomo said through an interpreter after his spectacular debut for the Red Sox. "As I was going into the ninth inning, I was not nervous."
"I looked at the location of the ball, looked at Lansing, and I thought he'd catch the ball," said Nomo, who was remarkably calm for a pitcher who had just put his name in the record book.
Two pitches later, Delino DeShields lofted a routine fly to left field that Troy O'Leary caught for the final out. Nomo was lifted up by catcher Jason Varitek and mobbed by his new teammates as O'Leary ran in to give the right-hander the ball.
"I've always heard what a horse Nomo is and he really proved that tonight," Varitek said. "He got stronger and his fastball got better as the game went on. His fastball is what made it tonight. He was phenomenal tonight."
The 32-year-old Japanese pitcher, who threw the first no-hitter in Colorado's Coors Field on Sept. 17, 1996, for Los Angeles, walked three and struck out 11 in a 110-pitch outing for the first no-hitter in the 10-year history of Camden Yards.
Cal Ripken also reached on an error in the second inning when his grounder went through third baseman Shea Hillenbrand.
Nomo also pitched the earliest no-hitter in baseball history, doing it three days earlier than Houston's Ken Forsch in 1979 and Detroit's Jack Morris in 1984.
The Orioles didn't get anything close to a hit until Lansing's catch in the ninth. Lansing, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, ended it as a star.
"You know what's going on. As soon as I saw it, I put my head down," Lansing said. "I knew I had to go all out and get there. ... He had worked so hard to get that far. I didn't want him to lose it at that point."
As the game wore on, many in the crowd of 35,602 abandoned the home team and cheered each out.
"People in the U.S. like good baseball, whether you're on the home team or not," Nomo said.
Nomo joined Cy Young, Jim Bunning and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers with no-hitters in both leagues.
Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Nomo delivered the first no-hitter by a Boston player since Dave Morehead in 1965. His performance this spring offered no clue of what was to come -- in four starts Nomo was 0-3 with an 11.37 ERA.
"Today was my first time throwing for the Boston Red Sox, and I am obviously very happy with my performance," he said.
Nomo won the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year for the Dodgers, exciting all of baseball with Nomo-mania. In 1997, Nomo became the fastest pitcher in major league history to reach 500 career strikeouts, doing it in 444 2/3 innings.
But he struggled the past three seasons, going 26-32 for the Dodgers, Mets, Milwaukee and Detroit. He entered the season 69-61 with a 3.97 ERA.
Ponson pitched well enough to win -- on most nights. He allowed three runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings, walking one and striking out 10.
Notes: The start of the game was delayed 43 minutes by a power outage. ... Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his second game with Boston. ... Ripken is 0-for-7 this season. ... The last no-hitter against the Orioles was by Wilson Alvarez of the White Sox on Aug. 11, 1991.