Brandon Morrow Throws Near No-Hitter in First Major League Start
Sept. 9, 2008
SEATTLE, WASH. - Former Cal standout Brandon Morrow, the highest draft pick in Golden Bear baseball history, was phenomenal in his first Major League start last Friday, Sept. 5 against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariner's 24-year-old right-hander, who for the past two seasons has been a stand-out reliever for Seattle, came within four outs of becoming the second pitcher in Major League history to throw a no-hitter in his first big league start. Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns tossed a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Athletics on May 6, 1953.
Against the Yankees, which included another former Cal star in Xavier Nady (1998-2000), Morrow threw 7.2 innings with one hit, one run, three walks and eight strikeouts. He had held New York hitless until Yankee pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit knocked an RBI double over Ichiro Suzuki's head in right-center field. Morrow is now 1-0 as a starter (2-2 overall) in the big-leagues, is sporting a 1.49 ERA with 10 saves, and has 55 strikeouts in 44.1 innings this season.
Morrow has the distinction of being the first pitcher in more than 40 years to take a no-hitter that late into a game in his first career start. Red Sox hurler Billy Rohr went 8.2 innings without allowing a hit on Opening Day in 1967 at Yankee Stadium. Also, Morrow joins Juan Marichal (1960), Rudy May (1965) and Steve Woodward (1997) as the only pitchers since 1900 to pitch at least 7.2 innings, allow one hit and strike out at least eight in their first MLB start.
Morrow also has the distinction of being the highest draft pick ever in Cal baseball history, despite being diabetic. After an impressive 2005 summer in the Cape Cod League and a 2006 spring with the Bears (7-4, 2.05 ERA, 97 strikeouts in 96.2 innings) under the tutelage head coach David Esquer and pitching coach Dan Hubbs, the hard-throwing right-hander was selected a first-rounder, and the fifth pick overall, by the Mariners in the 2006 June draft. Morrow had been a top reliever for Seattle the past two summers, but was sent to AAA Tacoma in early August to work on becoming a starting pitcher like he was in his final season at Cal.