It’s been 7,976 days since David Cone threw a perfect game for the Yankees. That was the last no-hitter thrown by the game’s most famous franchise, until Corey Kluber took the ball on Wednesday night in Arlington. In the stadium where his 2020 season began and ended after a single inning, Klubot dominated the Rangers, walking just one batter on 101 pitches. He struck out nine. He was never in any danger, never looked stressed, and indeed, never even looked all that excited until the last out.
It took Kluber just 20 pitches to work through the first two innings, the first signs that he had something special cooking. Amusingly, it happened on a night when many in attendance surprisingly ended up with his bobblehead due to the Rangers’ giveaway. Kluber’s slider and curveball worked perfectly off each other, his fastball sat on the corners, and was able to mix the perfect combination of soft contact early in an at-bat for outs with dominant strikeouts to limit batted ball luck.
The only Rangers hitter to even reach base was Charlie Culberson in the third on a walk. After that, Kluber went into Ultimate Prevent Mode, retiring the next 20 hitters in a row. In the ninth, he started by getting his vengeance on Culberson with a weak grounder, than induced a liner from David Dahl. Finally, the last out was Willie Calhoun, who cemented Kluber’s place in Yankees history:
It was the 12th no-hitter in Yankees history and the sixth* already in 2021 after Joe Musgrove, Carlos Rodón, John Means, Wade Miley, and Spencer Turnbull just yesterday. It is indeed the Year of the No-Hitter, as MLB is only one away from tying the single-season record and it’s only May 19th.
*That’s not even counting Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning gem as part of a doubleheader
For awhile though, it looked like Kluber was going to have to fight on without much support at all. Rangers lefty Hyeon-Jong Yang matched Kluber’s zeroes through the fifth, flummoxing the Yankees and limiting them to just two hits while inducing three double plays. The lineup took an unexpected hit as well when newcomer Ryan LaMarre was forced to leave the game in the bottom of the third after hurting his hamstring.
Tyler Wade deserves a mention for finally providing the Yankee offense on the night. He wasn’t even in the original lineup, but when LaMarre departed, manager Aaron Boone sent him out to right field for just his third appearance there in 2021. In the sixth inning, after Kyle Higashioka led off with a walk, Wade drove him in with an RBI triple before coming home himself on a DJ LeMahieu sac fly.
That was the end of the Yankees’ scoring. It may have been a frustrating night for the Yankee offense, and nobody cares, because of what Kluber did tonight.
We’ll have a longer reflection on the no-hitter later on. The Yankees will try to win this four-game series tomorrow afternoon at 2:05pm with Domingo Germán on the hill against Dane Dunning.
For now, though? Soak it in, Yankee fans. The oft-questioned, high-risk, $11 million dollar signing has paid off. Corey Kluber did something that no Yankee has been able to do for more than 20 years — and not on the road since 1951. For one night in Texas, the Bronx Bombers were led by the right arm of the Klubot.