1. Sean Manaea vs Boston Red Sox, April 21, 2018
Sean Manaea’s no-hitter, a 3-0 win at the Coliseum early in the 2018 season, was a great game regardless of the opponent: 10 strikeouts (tied for the most), only two walks, an equal number of groundouts (nine) and flyouts (nine) in only 108 pitches, the fewest of the bunch.
What makes his performance the most impressive was the competition.
The 2018 Boston Red Sox, the eventual World Series champions and possibly one of the greatest teams off all-time, were 17-2 coming into the contest (the best record of a team that was no-hit, according to Elias) and had just won eight in a row, only twice during the first 19 games scoring fewer than three runs (both wins) and scoring 10 or more runs four times.
That team went on to be shutout only six times in the season en route to winning 108 games and leading the majors in hits (1509), batting average (.268), runs (876) and extra-base hits (594), all by a fairly wide margin (the gap in batting average between the Red Sox and the no. 2 team was the same margin as the one between the no. 2 and no. 14 teams).
Manaea walked eventual MVP Mookie Betts to open the game, following that up by retiring the next 14 batters before an error by Marcus Semien on a popup allowed a runner to reach with two outs in the fifth before throwing a wild pitch where the runner advanced to second. Manaea proceeded to strike out Jackie Bradley Jr. (the E-6 was briefly ruled a single and only until the eighth inning did Manaea realize he still had a no-hitter, according to Jane Lee).
Andrew Benintendi – who was ruled out on a controversial play in the sixth when he reached first but was called out after a review because he ran outside of the basepaths – walked with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Manaea got a force-out the next batter to close the best no-hitter by an Oakland Athletics’ pitcher currently on the roster.
Plus, he’s a lefty, which makes it much cooler.