Brett Myers paid no attention to the fact that he needed just seven more outs for his first no-hitter.
The Phillies righthander knew that one bad pitch could ruin everything.
"I knew it was going to come down to whoever made the first mistake," Myers said after last night's 2-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park. "I happened to make it. You can't second-guess it, but you try to make pitches and try to stay out there as long as you can."
Myers had a perfect game through 4 1/3 innings and a no-hitter through 62/3 innings before Joey Votto ripped an 0-2 splitter that hung in the strike zone for a double to left-center field to score the game's first run.
"I just left it up," Myers said. "I wanted it in the dirt."
Myers retired the first 13 batters he faced until he walked Adam Dunn, Votto and Edwin Encarnacion in the fifth inning. Myers never loaded the bases because Dunn had been caught stealing. The Phillies' starter worked out of the jam when Paul Bako struck out to end the inning.
"His fastball is back," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "The first time we faced him, he threw a lot of breaking balls and change-ups. This time, he was really dotting the outside part of the plate. He threw an excellent ball game."
Myers retired the side in order in the sixth and got Jay Bruce to ground out to Chase Utley for the first out in the seventh inning to put him just eight outs away from the Phillies' first no-hitter since Kevin Millwood threw one against the San Francisco Giants on April 27, 2003, at Veterans Stadium. He walked Brandon Phillips, but he got Dunn to fly out to leftfielder Pat Burrell for the second out.
Seven outs to go. Then came the splitter.
Myers said none of his teammates stayed away from him in the dugout while the no-hitter was intact. He said that didn't matter to him, anyway.
"That's superstitious stuff," he said. "That's the devil's work."
Myers was 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA after his first 11 starts this season, but he has pitched well in his last two, in which he is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA. In his last 151/3 innings, Myers has allowed seven hits, four runs and nine walks, fanning 19.
But as well as Myers pitched, Edinson Volquez pitched better. He allowed two hits, no runs and two walks in seven innings. He struck out eight.
"To shut this club out in this ballpark - that's almost impossible," Baker said. "Volquez was awesome. Myers was awesome. That was a good game to watch."