Yes. That’s what greeted me when I checked my phone after work last night. I had about 20 notifications from ESPN, numerous texts from my siblings, and several Tweets with the hashtag “#HestoNoNo”. At about 5, I had asked a coworker (who’s also a Giants fan) if he had an update on the game, but he didn’t (I don’t keep my phone with me when I tutor because it’s a distraction – especially when my boys are playing). Then at about a quarter to 7, the same coworker came by with a big grin on his face saying the game was over. I asked him how it could be over already if it started after 4. The grin widened, and he said, “Oh yeah. You don’t know what happened. Heston pitched a no hitter.” WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?? I was sure he was just messing with me until I picked up my phone after work. And I missed it all! But they’re replaying it on Comcast SportsNet at noon today, so I have the opportunity to see how it all went down.
What an amazing accomplishment for this guy. And what an adventure it’s been for him this season. He didn’t get picked up by the team after Spring Training, but came in to cover for the injured Matt Cain. He definitely impressed at first, but then had some problems with consistency. With the return of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy to the lineup in the near future, it was a sure thing that Heston would be sent down to make room for them. Take home lesson: Never trust a sure thing. I think he’s made his case to stay.
That game was so cool on so many levels. Speaking of cool, the boy sure is calm under pressure. He just doesn’t seem to get rattled by anything. All the guys in the clubhouse ignored him once there was potential that he might have a no hitter as they normally would do. But he had none of this. He even went up to Matt Duffy and Nori Aoki and apologized to them for a baserunning error in the 8th that caused Aoki to lose an RBI and Duffy to lose a run (Heston didn’t realize there were 2 outs so he didn’t hustle to 2nd base). Gee, I wonder why he lost track of the outs! The park was a contributor to maintaining the cool factor, too, as Bochy had Casilla and Lopez warming up in the ninth, but Heston couldn’t see them because their bullpen is hidden. During Matt Cain’s perfect game, Bochy had Shane Loux warming up in the batting cages so Matt couldn’t see him. And Heston mentioned the fact that at one point he made a play at first, then Duffy came out to talk to him on the mound just to give him a breather. I love how they look out for each other! Then at the end, after that final strikeout, Heston didn’t know what to do and started walking over to the dugout, but Buster was having none of that. He tossed the game-winning ball to Heston (who proceeded to drop it), then walked over to envelope him in the now famous Buster hug. And I noticed that the post game pile on was much more subdued this game – mirroring the calm personality of Heston.
Usually during a no-hitter, there is some fantastic defensive play that contributes, like Gregor Blanco’s unbelievable diving catch during Matt Cain’s perfect game or Hunter Pence’s amazing reach during Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter. None of those were needed in this game, making it all the more incredible. Well, Brandon Crawford did make a nice play at short, but we’ve come to expect that from him (here’s the video of that one for Ginny). Heston logged 11 strikeouts and walked no one. The only imperfection was that he hit three guys, including the leadoff batter in the 9th. But even that didn’t keep him from striking out the next three.
I love all the stories that you hear after the game when one of these happens. It turns out Heston’s little league coach was at the game. He lives in Florida, and thought it would be nice to take a trip up to New York to watch his former player pitch in the big leagues. This was the first of Heston’s starts he had been to. Nice choice! He even got to celebrate with Heston in the clubhouse afterwards. I think he needs to shuttle that guy to every game he starts! Then there’s the story about Heston’s agent. Jayson Stark tweeted the story of how Heston’s agent, Marc Kligman, had just flown in to SF last night, took a wrong turn and wound up at AT&T Park. As he was driving by, he got a text from Giants general manager, Bobby Evans, that read, “Your guy’s pitching a no-hitter. Where are you?” Evans didn’t even know that Kligman was in SF. He invited him into the clubhouse to watch the end of the game with him. What a coincidence!
So I’m about to watch that history-making game for myself. Sending huge congratulatory hugs to Chris Heston. From all the wonderful comments about him from his teammates, sounds like it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Congrats to you also on scoring a full page of the New York Daily News today (check it out here – thanks for the heads up, Alex Pavlovic). Everyone in the Big Apple knows your name now! Until next time, GO GIANTS!! KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING!!