The day of Edinson Vólquez seemed to end after only three pitches. And the Dominican contemplated the possibility of leaving the game after five innings due to the acute pain he felt.
A couple of hours later, nothing hurt.
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He stayed on the mound to launch the game of his life.
Volquez pitched the sixth-seeded game in the history of the Miami Marlins as he pitched a minimum of 27 batters in a 3-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
The 33-year-old right also became the sixth Dominican pitcher who throws a no-hitter, emulating Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ramon Martinez, Jose Jimenez and Juan Marichal. Santana and Liriano were the last to achieve it in 2011.
Volquez (2-7) gave up 10 strikeouts, and the two runners who were tipped off by tickets were withdrawn after double killings. In all, he used 98 pitches, the last to strike out Chris Owings and complete the jewel.
“When I completed the seventh, that’s when I said, ‘I’m going for it,'” Volquez said. “And I got it.”
It was the first game without hits in the majors this season, and the first one to suffer the DBacks since the Venezuelan Aníbal Sanchez launched one the 6 of September of 2006.
In the history of the Marlins, Volquez joins the Venezuelan Henderson Álvarez, Sánchez, A.J. Burnett, Kevin Brown and Al Leiter, with games without hits.
Volquez was about to leave the game after just three pitches, after a collision with Rey Fuentes, the first bat in Arizona, covering the initial, falling badly with his ankle.
“I thought I had my ankle broken,” joked Volquez.
“I am someone who believes in God,” said Fuentes. “And if I had a plan for Volquez, today was his day.”
Volquez was one of the pitchers the Marlins signed in the winter recess to cover the space left by the death of his Cuban ace Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boat accident last September.
And Volquez was very present to Fernandez at all times on Saturday.
Also to compatriot Yordano Ventura, the Kansas City pitcher who died in a road accident in the Dominican Republic in January. Ventura would have turned 26 on Saturday. Not only were they compatriots, but close friends and teammates of the Royals who won the World Series in 2015.
“It was special to dedicate the game to him,” Volquez said.
Volquez’s first season in Miami started in the worst way. The Marlins lost in eight of their first nine starts, with Volquez carrying the loss in their first seven decisions.
But this afternoon, it was almost perfect.
“There were so many things that went together,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. “And his reportorio was impeccable.”
Volquez is the example of a baseball globe-trotter. The Marlins are their seventh team in 13 campaigns in the majors, performing on Saturday with a lifetime record of 90-86.
He was selected for the All-Star Game in 2008, when he was 17-6 with Cincinnati. In 2015, it was key to the conquest of the World Series with Kansas City, opening the first game in the same day that its father passed away.
“This is one of those days when you do not know what can happen,” Volquez said. “And today I played a game without hits.”