There wasn’t much to cheer about in Phoenix this season, but rookie attorney Tyler Gilbert gave the fans who arrived at Chase Field on Saturday night plenty of reason to be happy.
In his first career start, Gilbert made history with the eighth no-hitter of the MLB season – the most in modern times – and only became the second player in modern times (since 1900) to throw a no in his first start to join Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns, who threw his no-hitter on May 6, 1953.
“Crazy. It will probably hit me for another day,” Gilbert said on Bally Sports Arizona after the game. “I don’t know what just happened. That was crazy.”
Twice on Saturday it seemed like the record could be broken. The Phillies had a combined no-hitter through seven innings against the Reds and the Mets’ Taijuan Walker threw 6 1/3 no-hit innings against the Dodgers. But it was 27-year-old Gilbert who set the mark and broke the previous modern seven-sentence mark in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015.
MORE: Latest no-hitter for all 30 MLB teams
Here’s everything you need to know about the storied left-handed man.
First career start in the MLB
Gilbert didn’t make his major league debut until August 3, when he pitched a goalless, spotless inning with two strikeouts from the bullpen.
“It was surreal,” Gilbert said, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “I still can’t believe it. It went as well as possible.”
His first start could have been as good as possible. Only four pitchers have ever thrown a no-hitter on their first MLB career start, and Holloman is the only one to have done so since the early 20th century.
No-hitter in the first MLB start:
ARI Tyler Gilbert, August 14, 2021
SLB Bobo Holloman, May 6, 1953
CIN Bumpus Jones, October 15, 1892
SLB Ted Breitenstein, October 4, 1891
– Doug Kern (@ dakern74) August 15, 2021
Gilbert’s start wasn’t entirely perfect as he walked three clubs and only hit five, but he was efficient with his pitches. He ended the night after throwing just 102 to 64 for strikes. The Padres certainly helped him late in the game. In the eighth inning, catcher Austin Nola, first baseman Eric Hosmer and right fielder Wil Myers all made outs on the first pitch for a three-pitch frame.
And the Diamondbacks left no doubt of the win when they jumped Padres starter Joe Musgrove in the first five runs and won 7-0. Musgrove beat the first no-hitter of the season against the Rangers on April 9.
Second chance in Arizona
Gilbert was selected by the Phillies in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB draft, but wasn’t a long starter in the minors.
He started eight of his 10 appearances in 2015 and all 23 of his appearances in 2016, but he only started once in 35 games in 2017 and didn’t make a fresh start in 2019, his final year in the Phillies organization. He succeeded when he got out of the bullpen; his ERA never reached 4:00. In 2019, his second season with Triple-A, he achieved a 2.83 ERA in 47 2/3 innings over 36 appearances.
The Phillies swapped him for outfielder Kyle Garlick to the Dodgers in February 2020. With no minor league season last year, Gilbert’s career stalled. He was claimed by the Diamondbacks in the Triple A phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December. Arizona returned him to the rotation, where he made 10 of his 11 appearances for Triple-A Reno that year with a 3.44 ERA.
Gilbert was promoted to the majors for the first time in August and continued to enjoy success. He did not allow a run over 3 2/3 innings in three relief appearances before Saturday. He hit five and walked two, while allowing only one undeserved run with two hits.
Longstanding Californian pitcher
It wasn’t long ago that the best place to watch Gilbert was in California. And as he progressed through the ranks, he got closer and closer to SoCal.
Gilbert attended high school in the San Lorenzo Valley before attending Santa Barbara City College in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. There he made 27 starts, compiled 145 strikeouts and a 3.11 ERA in 168 innings. He gave up 145 hits and left 38.
His junior college success enabled him to travel further south to USC, where he moved for the 2015 season. In his only season with the Trojans, he made six starts in 22 games, setting up to a 2.79 ERA with 66 strikeouts and a .265 opponent batting average over 67 2/3 innings.