Saturday was a day for the record books when the Colorado Rockies got their first no-hitter; the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez moved up on the all-time home run list and the New York Mets and St Louis Cardinals played the longest game in two years. Ubaldo Jimenez pitched the first no-hitter in the Rockies' 18-year history, dominating the Braves in a 4-0 victory at Atlanta. The San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and the Mets are now the only major league teams without a no-hitter.
It was also a record-setting day for Rodriguez, who hit his 584th home run to pass Mark McGwire for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list. His solo homer helped the Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 7-3. And the Mets outlasted the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 innings, a game that ended after nearly seven hours of play. Neither team scored for the first 18 innings, then each scored in the 19th. The Mets finally won in the 20th, in part because the Cardinals ran out of pitchers and had to use Joe Mather, an outfielder, on the mound in the 20th.
It was the longest game since Colorado beat San Diego 2-1 in the 22nd inning in April 2008. But the night belonged to the Rockies and Jimenez, who delivered baseball's first no-hitter since July 23, when Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game in a 5-0 victory over Tampa Bay When he retired the final Braves hitter, Jimenez bowed his head and raised his arms as his teammates started the celebration around him.
"That's an unbelievable feeling, having your teammates enjoying the time with you and just hugging you, admiring everything we did," Jimenez said. "Not only I did it. It was the whole team. Every single guy was pulling for me. You can see it in their faces." He was helped by Dexter Fowler's diving catch on Troy Glaus's drive to left-centre field in the seventh inning. He got stronger from there, reaching 150kmph with his fastball through the last batter. The 26-year-old right-hander walked six and struck out seven, and also had an RBI single in the fourth inning.
He threw a lot of pitches - 128 in all. But after walking Jason Heyward to open the fifth, he retired 15 consecutive batters. "He wasn't tired, believe me," said Bobby Cox, the Braves manager. "He could have thrown 150 pitches and he would have been throwing 98 [mph]." "He's not a comfortable at-bat, because the next pitch could be in your ear or on the black," the Braves' Chipper Jones said. "I thought, to be honest with you, we put them in play. It's not like he struck out 15 or 16 guys. We put the ball in play. We just couldn't get anything to fall."
Jimenez talked to his family after the game, and they were as excited as he was. He talked to his mother, niece and brother-in-law, who are staying in Denver, and to his father and sister, who were watching from the Dominican Republic. "They were watching every single pitch," he said. "I couldn't understand what they were saying because they were yelling so much." * Agencies