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Astros Right-Hander Ronel Blanco No-Hits Blue Jays

In his eighth career start in the major leagues on April Fool's Day, Houston Astros right-hander Ronel De Jesus Blanco kept the Toronto Blue Jays out of the hit column for the first no-hitter of the 2024 season. And no, it wasn't an April Fool's prank. Blanco induced a ground ball to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the final out of the game. 

Eight is Great

The Astros signed Blanco as an international free agent in 2016, and he made his major league debut in 2022. The Dominican-born right-hander made seven appearances as a reliever that first season before making seven starts out of 17 total appearances last year. 

Blanco made a spot start on Monday and had never thrown more than six innings in a game at the big league level. The 30-year-old allowed only two baserunners: a walk to George Springer to lead off the game and another walk to Springer with two outs in the ninth. 

Every no-hitter or perfect game has a "The Play", which helps to preserve it. That "play" in Blanco's no-hitter came in the ninth inning. Toronto second baseman Cavan Biggio laced a ball toward first with one out, but first baseman Jose Abreu laid out to his right and flipped it to Blanco at first for the second out. 

Blanco struck out seven in the game while throwing 75 strikes on 103 pitches. The no-hitter was the 17th in the Astros franchise history, and they have had more than 29 teams combined since June of 2022. Including this one, they have had four no-hitters since June 2022, while the rest of the majors have three combined. The other three no-hitters since June 2022 for Houston were Framber Valdez on August 1 last year and two combined no-hitters - one in Game 4 of the 2022 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies and the other on June 25, 2022 against the New York Yankees. 

The only reason Blanco got the start was that Justin Verlander and José Urquidy started the season on the injured list. Blanco's no-hitter is now the earliest the feat has been accomplished by date on the calendar. The earliest no-hitter to occur before Monday was Boston Red Sox right-hander Hideo Nomo tossing one against the Baltimore Orioles on April 4, 2001. The only Major League Opening Day no-hitter comes from Guardians' Hall of Famer Bob Feller, who did so in 1940.

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