In 1996, Al Leiter threw the first no-hitter in Florida Marlins history. Less than 13 months later, Kevin Brown duplicated the feat, becoming the first hurler in team history to throw one on the road.
That no-hitter came on this day 25 years ago. Brown allowed just one baserunner in a 9-0 no-hit victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Through six innings at 3Com Park on June 10, 1997, neither team had recorded a hit. Brown had a perfect game going, but San Francisco’s William VanLandingham had not allowed a hit either.
A sinker ball pitcher, Brown had retired 11 of the first 18 batters by groundouts while striking out four. Despite not allowing a hit for six innings, VanLandingham had allowed a run on a fifth-inning balk.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Marlins broke up the no-hitter and opened things up. After a walk to Bobby Bonilla began the inning, Charles Johnson pushed the lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run with one out. VanLandingham followed with a walk to Brown and his day was over.
Dan Carlson replaced him, but things got worse for the Giants. After a Luis Castillo double, Edgar Renteria singled home two runs. Renteria was caught stealing at second, but that hardly stopped the bleeding.
Before the inning was over, the Marlins scored three more times. A double by Jim Eisenreich and a walk to Gary Sheffield was followed by a Moises Alou single, which scored two following an error in left field by Barry Bonds. Alou scored on an RBI single from Bonilla.
Now up 8-0, Brown needed just eight pitches to get through the bottom of the seventh with the perfect game intact. After getting Bonds to fly out and striking out Jeff Kent, Brown surrendered his only baserunner with two outs in the eighth when he hit Marvin Benard on a 1-2 pitch. The perfect game was gone, but Brown took a no-hitter into the ninth after getting Mark Lewis to hit into a fielder’s choice.
The Marlins added a run on an Alou sacrifice fly, but in the ninth, all eyes were on Brown.
It took just six pitches to induce a pair of groundouts for Brown. With two outs, it was up to Darryl Hamilton to keep the Giants from being no-hit. With the count 0-2, Brown’s pitch ran back over the middle of the plate to get Hamilton looking to complete the no-hitter.
In what would be his final of two seasons with Florida, Brown posted a 16-8 record and 2.69 ERA in 1997 while making a second straight All-Star Game. In their history, the Marlins have had six pitchers throw no-hitters. The first on the road came on this day a quarter-century ago.