Canadian pitcher Paxton throws no-hitter on home soil

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) celebrates after pitching a no hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.James Paxton has been turning heads this season with some impressive performances on the mound for the Seattle Mariners, but the Canadian pitcher saved his best for his home country. Paxton threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, becoming the first Canadian to do so on home soil.

 

Paxton walked three and struck out seven in Tuesday’s game, which came one start after a 16-strikeout performance against the Oakland Athletics. He needed 99 pitches to get through the Blue Jays, and he was still throwing fastballs around 100 m.p.h on the last batter he faced: former MVP Josh Donaldson. Seattle’s defense helped Paxton with some timely plays, including a catch by Ben Gamel near the warning track on a Russell Martin drive to open the eighth inning, and the Mariners’ offense provided five runs, which turned out to be more than enough for Paxton.

 

Only one other Canadian pitcher has recorded a no-hitter in MLB. Dick Fowler threw a no-hitter for the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics against the St. Louis Browns. Notable Canadian pitchers since then include Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and reliever Eric Gagne, who both won Cy Young awards, but it took more than 70 years for a Canadian to replicate Fowler’s feat. That Paxton did so in Toronto makes the moment even more special, especially considering he was almost a member of the Blue Jays when they drafted him 37th overall in 2009. A dispute over Paxton’s signing bonus ended messily and cost him his NCAA eligibility, resulting in Paxton re-entering the 2010 draft, where the Mariners selected him in the fourth round.

 

Paxton has battled injuries and inconsistency to become a mainstay in Seattle’s starting rotation. He had something of a breakout campaign in 2016, doubling his previous season-high in wins with 12 and setting new career marks in WHIP (1.10) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.32). Tuesday was Paxton’s fourth career appearance at Rogers Centre, and his third win there.