Little did Joe Maddon know how prophetic he would sound when the Angels manager was asked before Tuesday night’s game to assess the progress of pitcher Reid Detmers, a 22-year-old left-hander who was occasionally effective but mostly erratic in his first five starts.
“It’s better, but it’s not as good as it can be,” Maddon said. “He’s got great command, good stuff, great makeup, but I don’t think he’s actually executed a game plan with any kind of consistency. So, he’s gonna get better. But to this point, we haven’t seen the best side of him yet.”
They did Tuesday night.
Detmers, a first-round pick out of Louisville in 2020, threw the 12th no-hitter in franchise history during a 12-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays before an announced crowd of 39,313 in Angel Stadium, striking out only two and walking one during an efficient if not overpowering 108-pitch effort.
Mixing a fastball that averaged 92.3 mph and topped out at 93.9 mph with a 72.6 mph curve, 83.6 mph changeup and 82.6 mph slider, Detmers was in control throughout.
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He took the mound for the ninth with his pitch count at 94. Vidal Brujan popped out to catcher Chad Wallach for the first out and Kevin Kiermaier grounded out to second.
Yandy Diaz followed with a grounder to shortstop Andrew Velazquez, who scooped the ball up and fire accurately to first for the final out.
The Angels poured out of their dugout and mobbed Detmers, the pile generating so much momentum it pushed itself from the mound into foul territory down the first-base line.
The 10th individual no-hitter in franchise history was the first no-hitter since the emotional combined effort of Taylor Cole and Felix Peña on July 12, 2019, against the Seattle Mariners, the team’s first home game after the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The last individual no-hitter was by Jered Weaver against the Minnesota Twins on May 2, 2012, in Angel Stadium.
Detmers had a perfect game with two strikeouts through five innings. He had only three three-ball counts in the first five innings. The closest the Rays came to a hit was in the fourth, when Angels left fielder Brandon Marsh raced in to make a catch of a Harold Ramirez flare to end the inning.
Detmers closed the fifth with a strikeout of Mike Zunino on a 72 mph curve, but his full-count curve to Taylor Walls to open the sixth was up and away for ball four, ending his perfect-game bid.
Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon made a leaping catch of a Brujan line drive for the first out. First baseman Jared Walsh made a back-hand grab of Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder down the line, stepped on the bag and fired to second to complete an inning-ending doble play.
With one out in the seventh, Brett Phillips hit a hard grounder to the right of Walsh, who bobbled the ball and was unable to pick up in time to throw to Detmers at the bag. Official scorer Mel Franks did not hesitate in ruling the play an error.
Ramirez followed with a 383-foot drive that Marsh caught at the wall in left field, and Randy Arozarena flied out to end the inning.
Reid breezed through a one-two-three eighth, getting Brandon Lowe to fly to left, Zunino to fly to right and Walls to pop out to second.
Detmers worked with Wallach, a Yorba Linda native and son of former Dodgers star third baseman Tim Wallach in his second game with Angels.
The American League West-leading Angels (21-11) moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since April 14, 2018, when they were 13-3. They are off to the third-best start in franchise history behind the 1970 and 2004 clubs, who both started 22-10.
The Angels provided a huge, early cushion for Detmers by pounding Rays right-hander Corey Kluber, a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, for eight runs and 11 hits in three innings.
The game got so far out of hand in the eighth that Rendon, batting from the left side against position-player-turned-pitcher Brett Phillips, lined a two-run home run to right field to cap a four-run inning.
Marsh and Mike Trout both singled to open a two-run first that included Rendon’s RBI groundout and Walsh’s RBI single. A three-run third featured back-to-back doubles by Luis Rengifo and Velazquez, Marsh’s sacrifice fly and Trout’s 425-foot solo homer to center.
The Angels added three more runs in a five-hit third, with Walsh and Jack Mayfield hitting singles ahead of Wallach’s three-run homer to left that made it 8-0.
Trout added his second homer of the game and ninth of the season, a towering two-run shot to center field off Phillips, the right-fielder-turned-pitcher, to make it 10-0 in the eighth. Shohei Ohtani doubled, and Rendon homered to right to make it 12-0.