Friday, July 12th, 2019, will be remembered as a historic night in the game of Baseball.
Taylor Cole and Felix Pena threw a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners as the Angels’ honored their fallen teammate Tyler Skaggs in their first home game since his tragic death on July 1st. Everyone on the team wore Tyler Skaggs’ jersey with his last name and the number 45 to honor him.
The night began with the Angels showing a tribute to Tyler Skaggs, followed by his mother Debbie, wife Carli, step-dad, and brother all headed out to the mound as Tyler’s mother Debbie threw out the first pitch to Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney who was Tyler’s best friend. Debbie threw a pitch right down the middle and it proved to be something that the Opener, Taylor Cole took notice of. Cole would start out the game by throwing a clean 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 1st.
The bottom of the 1st saw the Angels score 7 runs including a Mike Trout 2-run Home Run on the 1st pitch that went 454 feet. Cole ended up coming back out for another 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd. Felix Pena would then follow Cole by coming out for the 3rd inning and cruised for the first two innings he pitched.
In the top of the 5th, he walked Designated Hitter Omar Narvaez in his third inning of work. In, the top of the 6th inning Rookie 1st Basman Matt Thaiss, who was playing a new position at 3rd base made what would end up being a key play by making a nice diving stop to keep the ball from going into the outfield and threw out the runner at 1st base.
As the game progressed it became a thought of there potentially being a no-hitter as only 1 base runner had reached base for the Mariners via a walk. Heading into the 9th inning there was a special feeling as the Angels not only had 13 runs on 13 hits, but the Mariners did not one have a hit yet. The 9th inning opened with Left Fielder Mac Williamson swinging at the first pitch and hit it the ball hard to the warning track for a loud out. 2nd Baseman Dee Gordon, then hit a ground ball just to the right of the pitcher Pena, who would then pick up the ball and throw out the speedy Gordon at 1st Base. With 2 outs in the 9th, Center Fielder Mallex Smith hit a ground ball to 2nd Baseman Luis Rengifo, who had just come in to replace Matt Thaiss for defensive purposes. Rengifo, bobbled the ball and was able to pick up the ball and throw out the speedy Smith at 1st. The Angels immediately began to rush the field to celebrate this special moment that Taylor Cole and Felix Pena did to honor their teammate Tyler Skaggs. This celebration ended with everyone gathered around the mound with everyone taking off their Tyler Skaggs jersey’s and placing them on the mound. The team surrounded the mound to pay their respects to their teammate.
This night was magical for many reasons and as Center Fielder Mike Trout tried to describe this night he explained, “You can’t make this stuff up.” The reasoning behind his comment was that there were so many unique things that happened in this game such as Trout hitting a Home Run that went 454 feet and either way you look at it, the number 45 is in there. The Angels scored 7 runs in the 1st and ended up with 13 runs in the game and Tyler’s birthday is 7/13. This no-hitter was the 11th in Angels history and Tyler wore number 11 in high school. The last time there was a combined no-hitter in the state of California, it was the day Tyler was born, 7/13/91.
Taylor Cole, who opened the game said, “It all started today with Debbie’s first pitch. Couldn’t have made a better pitch to get us going on the right foot. Just a special night for our team, and fro the fans, and for his family. It’s definitely the most special thing that’s ever happened to me on a baseball field.” Cole and Felix Pena both threw strikes the whole night and were able to command the strike zone the whole night as they allowed no hits, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts combined.
Felix Pena, who finished off the combined no-hitter and in the post-game interview he quoted Tyler Skaggs by saying, “We’re Nasty” to end the night. Tyler would say that after every Angels win to his teammates.
Featured Image: Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News Via Getty