Edwin Jackson (Trading Card DB)

June 25, 2010: Edwin Jackson throws 149-pitch no-hitter for Diamondbacks

This article was written by Thomas J. Brown Jr.

Edwin Jackson (Trading Card DB)When the Arizona Diamondbacks visited the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game series in June 2010, they were in fifth place in National League West Division, the same place where they had finished a season earlier. A.J. Hinch had been appointed manager in May 2009, but the Diamondbacks’ fortunes had not improved under the 36-year-old former big-league catcher. The trip to Tropicana Field was the conclusion of two weeks of interleague play, and Arizona had lost seven of nine games against the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, and New York Yankees.

The Rays were in second place in the American League East but had also struggled in June’s interleague games, dropping six of nine to the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, and San Diego Padres. On May 23 Tampa Bay had the majors’ best record at 32-12 and a six-game lead in the American League East Division. Since then, 17 losses in 28 games had left the Rays two games behind the first-place Yankees.1

At 26 years old, Diamondbacks right-hander Edwin Jackson was already on his fourth big-league team. After debuting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, Jackson went to Tampa Bay in a 2006 trade. He spent three seasons there, making three postseason appearances for the Rays’ 2008 pennant-winners, before being traded to the Detroit Tigers after the 2008 season.2 Another trade sent him to Arizona in December 2009.3 Jackson had made the AL All-Star team in 2009 and finished seventh in the league with a 3.92 ERA, but he entered his June 25 start against the Rays with a 4-6 record and a 5.05 ERA.

Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. noticed that Jackson was struggling to find the strike zone during his warm-ups. He chalked it up to the team’s offday after traveling from New York, and was not concerned.4

Right-hander Jeff Niemann was the Rays’ starter. The 6-foot-9, 27-year-old Niemann had pitched well in 2009, his first full season with the Rays, finishing 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA. He had a 6-1 record and a 2.84 ERA so far in 2010.

Niemann got through the first inning despite walking two batters. With one out in the second, however, Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche hit his 11th home run of the season for a 1-0 Diamondbacks’ lead.

Like Niemann, Jackson walked two batters in the first. With two outs, he threw a wild pitch that put runners at the corners. But Jackson finished the frame unscathed when Matt Joyce – traded from Detroit for Jackson in 2008 – grounded out.

Rays manager Joe Maddon knew that Jackson had a tendency to be erratic with his control and told reporters that his game plan was to “[m]ake him throw strikes and come after you, because he would do that. Early in the game, that’s when you wanted to get him. My experience was the deeper he got, the better he got.”5 Using that strategy, the Rays forced Jackson to 27 pitches in the first inning.

Jackson walked two more batters in the second, but John Jaso’s pop fly ended the frame with the Rays failing to score.

The Rays looked as though they might get the best of Jackson in the third, as three more walks loaded the bases with no outs. But Jackson once again pitched himself out of the jam. First he got Joyce to pop to shallow right, forcing Ben Zobrist to hold on third. Then Melvin Upton hit a groundball to third baseman Mark Reynolds, who threw home to get Zobrist out. Hank Blalock ended the scoring opportunity when he grounded out to second. Jackson threw 24 more pitches in the third, giving him 70 for the game.

“I walked the bases loaded. Most times, you walk the bases loaded and you’re giving up at least two of those runs – at least two. That’s two sac flies. But man, somehow I Houdini’d my way out of there,” Jackson said after the game.6

But he also noted that he felt he had finally discovered his rhythm and control when he went out for the fourth inning. He got the Rays out on just 10 pitches.

After Jackson got through the fifth on nine pitches, the Rays had another chance to score in the sixth. Jackson plunked Upton with one out. Upton stole second and reached third on a groundout. But Jackson once again got out of trouble when he struck out Sean Rodríguez on four pitches.

As Jackson’s pitch count increased, Hinch wondered how long he would last.7 Niemann and two Rays relievers were keeping Arizona scoreless after LaRoche’s homer.

“Never did we lose sight of the fact that it was a 1-0 game. I kept checking with Edwin every inning. But he kept saying, ‘I’m not coming out. I’m not coming out,’” said Hinch “You want to make smart decisions. But you do have a chance at history and you don’t want to take it away from him.”8

Jason Bartlett finished a seven-pitch at-bat by lining out to third in the bottom of the seventh. When Jackson reached 100 pitches, Sam Demel started warming up, the fourth time an Arizona reliever prepared to come into the game. Jackson needed a total of 12 pitches to get Jaso to pop out to shortstop and Zobrist to fly out to center to end the seventh.

“He was struggling to find it,” said Upton after the game. “You go up there, you want to look for a strike. He’d throw one five inches and come back and throw a fastball on the corner or a slider on the corner, and I think for us, it is tough to hit like that, actually for anybody.”9

The Rays had another chance to score in the eighth. Carlos Peña reached on shortstop Stephen Drew’s one-out error. Tampa Bay sent speedy Carl Crawford to pinch-run. Joyce flied out, bringing up Upton. Jackson made two attempts to pick off Crawford. Then he threw two sliders, his 133rd and 134th pitches of the game. Before Jackson could throw another pitch, Crawford tried to steal second. Catcher Miguel Montero cut him down to end the inning.

“That was big, especially pitch-count-wise for me,” said Jackson. “If I have to face Upton out of the stretch after that with a guy on second who can also steal third, it’s one of those things you have to keep in mind. But it was a play that definitely saves the game.”10

“It was a perfect throw. Everything was perfect. It was a bang-bang play. I really don’t know if he was safe, if he was out. They called him out, so I’m good with that. I’ll live with that,” said Montero.11

Jackson was ready to make history in the ninth. “I don’t care if it was 199 pitches, going on 209, he wasn’t coming out of that game,” said LaRoche. “They would have needed security, a lot of it, to get him off the mound.”12

Jackson struck out Upton on three pitches for the first out. Blalock flied to left on five pitches. Now Willy Aybar pinch-hit for Rodríguez. Jackson walked him on four pitches, his eighth walk of the game.

Bartlett took one pitch and fouled off the second one before grounding out to shortstop Drew. Jackson had pitched a no-hitter, throwing 149 pitches to accomplish the feat. As of 2024, it was the most in a no-hitter since baseball began counting pitches in 1988.13

Jackson’s teammates rushed from the dugout to congratulate him and he ended up with a whipped-cream pie in his face. They later doused him with beer when the team retreated to the locker room. “Amazing,” said LaRoche. “Edwin just fought and kept battling back, and I don’t know how he did it but it was remarkable.” 

“It was such an unlikely no-hitter. It just didn’t make any sense. But Edwin had a tendency to get better as the game was in progress, and he’s as good of an athlete as anybody in the game in terms of strength and how his arm works,” reflected Maddon. “His velocity normally seemed to get better. If anybody was going to be able to pull it off, it was going to be him,”14

The no-hitter was the second in Diamondbacks history. Randy Johnson pitched the first, against the Braves on May 18, 2004. It was the 999th win in Arizona’s franchise history.

For the Rays, it was the second time in 2010 that they had been the no-hit victims.15 They lost on May 9 when Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s threw the 19th perfect game in major-league history. And now Jackson had done it in unusual fashion, taking 149 pitches to silence the Rays.16

“Besides going to the World Series and maybe my major-league debut, this will be one of the most memorable moments that I’ll ever have,” Jackson said.17

The no-hitter ended up being the highlight of his tenure in Arizona. On July 30, slightly over a month after his no-hitter, the Diamondbacks traded Jackson to the Chicago White Sox.18 He eventually played for 14 major-league teams – as of 2024 the most of anyone in big-league history – in a 17-season career.




This article was fact-checked by Ray Danner and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, I used the Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org websites for box-score, player, team, and season pages, pitching and batting logs, and other material.





1 Tampa Bay had experienced a number of injuries in late May and June. Shortstop Jason Bartlett had a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list on June 3. Outfielder Gabe Kapler was put on the disabled list on June 12 with a hip strain. Carl Crawford was listed as day-to-day on June 24 after experiencing soreness in his shoulder over the previous two weeks. Additionally, Carlos Peña was struggling at the plate, hitting below .200 for most of May and June.

2 Jackson was traded to the Tigers for outfielder Matt Joyce on December 10, 2008.

3 The Detroit Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Jackson to the Diamondbacks on December 8, 2009. The Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Tigers and Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers.

4 Adam Berry, “Reliving Jackson’s 149-Pitch No-No 10 Years Later,” MLB.com, June 24, 2020.

5 Berry, “Reliving Jackson’s 149-Pitch No-No 10 Years Later.”

6 Berry, “Reliving Jackson’s 149-Pitch No-No 10 Years Later.”

7 Hinch was only days away from being fired as Arizona’s manager and replaced by bench coach Kirk Gibson. He had been named Arizona’s manager on May 8, 2009, just days before he turned 35. The Diamondbacks were 58-75 under his leadership; they were 31-48 for the 2010 season when Hinch was fired on July 1, 2010.

8 Joey Johnston, “Jackson Wasn’t Coming Out,” Tampa Tribune, June 26, 2010: 25.

9 Roger Mooney, “An Old Friend No-Hits Rays,” Tampa Tribune, June 26, 2010: 25.

10 Bob McManaman, “Timely Defensive Play Helped Preserve Feat,” Arizona Republic (Phoenix), June 26, 2010: C13.

11 Berry, “Reliving Jackson’s 149-Pitch No-No 10 Years Later.”

12 Johnston, “Jackson Wasn’t Coming Out.”

13 The fewest number of pitches for a no-hitter during this period was by Houston Astros starter Darryl Kile, who needed just 85 to no-hit the New York Mets on September 8, 1993

14 Berry, “Reliving Jackson’s 149-Pitch No-No 10 Years Later.”

15 Tampa Bay also lost to Mark Buehrle on July 23, 2009, when he threw the 18th perfect game in baseball history, making it three times that they were no-hit in two seasons.

16 The Rays won the AL East in 2010 with a 96-66 record. Their 802 runs scored were third overall in the major leagues.

17 McManaman, “Timely Defensive Play Helped Preserve Feat.”

18 The Diamondbacks received David Holmberg and Daniel Hudson in the deal. They finished 2010 at 65-97, their second consecutive fifth-place season.

Additional Stats

Arizona Diamondbacks 1
Tampa Bay Rays 0

Tropicana Field
St. Petersburg, FL


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