(Reuters) - Orioles pitcher John Means said he felt the presence of his late father as he clinched his team's first no-hitter since 1969 on Wednesday, after an exhausting and near-perfect 12-strikeout performance.
After firing off 113 pitches to seal the 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners, Means' teammates swarmed him near the mound, as the away crowd inside Seattle's T-Mobile Park applauded the rare achievement in professional baseball.
"I know my dad was there today," Means, whose father Alan died last year due to pancreatic cancer, said in an on-air interview after the game. "He was back there telling me what pitch to throw - I mean, it's pretty incredible."
Means faced down 27 batters with no walks, but was deprived of a "perfect game" due to a dropped third strike in the third inning.
"I can't put it into words right now," said Means. "Felt okay all game, I didn't really have the changeup until the end and I'm glad I got it going."
It marked the third no-hitter in less than a month in MLB, after the San Diego Padres' Joe Musgrove and Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox on April 9 and April 14, respectively.
Means earned the praise of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who tweeted: "Congratulations to John Means and the @Orioles on the team’s first solo no-hitter in over 50 years!"
The win marked a much-needed boost for the 15-16 Orioles, who are languishing in last place in the AL East.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Stephen Coates)