Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer fielded the first ground ball hit by the Cleveland Indians Friday night and he fielded the last one.
And that last one was one he really wanted. He kept saying to himself, “Hit it to me, hit it to me.”
Jordan Luplow complied. He hit a sharp ground ball to Farmer. He fielded. He threw to first baseman Mike Moustakas.
And Wade Miley had his no-hitter.
It was mentioned to Farmer that the last out of a no-hitter is played over and over and over on local and network television and is there for posterity.
“I wanted it hit to me for that exact reason,” he said. “Any way to be remembered is a good thing. I was really, really wanting that ball hit to me for the third out. It was cool that it happened.”
Miley coaxed 16 mostly weak ground balls from Cleveland hitters. Perhaps the hardest hit ball found Farmer, a sizzling short line drive to open the fifth inning by 250-pound designated hitter Franmil Reyes.
“That was really hard-hit and knuckling really bad,” said Farmer. “I didn’t know if it was going to short-hop me or stay up. I went back to my catching days and tried to block it with my chest and throw him out. That ball was scorched and knuckling really bad.”
So what is it like standing at your position in the ninth inning, knowing your pitcher is three outs from a no-hitter?
“If somebody tells you they weren’t nervous, they’re lying to you,” said Farmer. “Everybody was nervous out there. That was the fastest I ever saw Nick Castellanos run to a pop fly and the quickest I’ve seen him throw it back to the infield.”
Right fielder Castellanos charged in to catch a routine pop fly hit by Cesar Hernandez to open the ninth.
“He was the first to admit that it was the fastest he has ever gone,” said Farmer. “With Wade you can’t blink an eye. He is going to throw three pitches before you think he has thrown one.”
When it ended, there was delirious madness on the field, everybody feeling giddy.
“Wade is just a good ol’ boy,” said Farmer. “He’s fun, he’s loving, he cares about everybody. When you care about everybody, everybody cares about you. He doesn’t change on his start days. Most pitchers are superstitious, and they change.
“But Wade talks non-stop, even in the dugout during the game,” Farmer added. “He was forcing people to talk to him.”
Baseball superstition says that when a pitcher is working on a no-hitter, nobody talks to him. Everybody does the same thing inning-after-inning. Sit in the same spot, do the same things.
Farmer said catcher Tucker Barnhart went to the bathroom before the ninth inning and then realized it and said, “I think I screwed things up. I’m really upset.” But all’s well that ends well.
Miley, though, was talking non-stop and was the same person, “And that’s why everybody loves him so much. He is the same person every day.”
Farmer said when Miley woke up Friday morning, he was destined to throw a no-hitter. He didn’t know it, but it was destiny.
Until there was one out in the sixth inning, Miley had a perfect game. That ended when second baseman Nick Senzel was charged with a throwing error.
“I didn’t know he had a perfect game going,” said Farmer. “I thought he walked somebody earlier in the game. I was just thinking about the no-hitter. I just saw a ‘zero’ under the hits. That’s what I was looking at.”
While Miley was pitching his no-hitter, the Reds weren’t scoring. Opposing pitcher Zach Plesac pitched eight scoreless innings and it was 0-0 heading into the ninth. That had to put pressure on the Reds to give Miley a run or two.
“There was no panic,” said Farmer. “There was just a calm amongst us all that something was going to happen. And it did. It rolled in our favor. It was just meant to be.”
Indeed, things unraveled spectacularly against the Indians and their 100-miles an hour closer,
Emmanuel Clase. An infield hit, Clase’s throwing error, Clase’s balk … suddenly the Reds had three runs. Miley retired the final three and the Reds had a 3-0 win.
“The one cool thing that was that after the game we all got together to celebrate Wade,” said Farmer. “Everybody had a story about where they were and what they were thinking or doing. That would he a cool book.
“Everybody had a different perspective,” he added. “Like Amir Garrett didn’t know it was a no-hitter until everybody was running on the field. He thought it was a complete-game shutout and everybody was fired up for him.
“Sonny Gray, though, was choreographing where everybody had to sit between innings,” Farmer added.
What Gray couldn’t choreograph was what Miley was doing on the mound. Miley did that himself.
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