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McGowan just misses no-hitter for Blue Jays

June 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

TORONTO — Dustin McGowan was looking for a no-hitter and a milestone for Frank Thomas, all in the same game.

McGowan's bid for the second no-hitter in Blue Jays history ended when Jeff Baker singled leading off the ninth inning, but Toronto beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-0, Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Frank Thomas hit his 499th career homer and Vernon Wells had a three-run drive for the Blue Jays (37-37), who got back to .500 for the first time since they were 13-13 on May 1.

"That would have been priceless, 500 and a no-no," McGowan said.

The 25-year-old right-hander had to settle for his first career complete game. He walked one and matched a career high with seven strikeouts.

"He's got dominant stuff," Thomas said. "I've been telling him since spring training, 'Kid, you've got something special. You're not an average starter. You're a way above-average starter."

McGowan got ahead of Baker with a slider for strike one, but Baker lined the next pitch, an inside fastball, up the middle and into center field.

"Give him a lot of credit," Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun said. "He put a good swing on a really good pitch and was able to break up the no-hitter with a legitimate line drive."

The Rogers Centre crowd saluted McGowan with a standing ovation.

"I wasn't really looking for anything," Baker said. "His stuff was so good, you couldn't."

McGowan (3-3) retired the next three batters after Baker's hit and finished with 109 pitches.

"In the fourth or fifth inning, I just started using my fastball and slider mostly, getting a lot of groundballs," McGowan said. "That's what it's all about."

Dave Stieb tossed the only no-hitter for the Blue Jays on Sept. 2, 1990, at Cleveland. Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox and Detroit's Justin Verlander have thrown no-hitters this season.

McGowan became the second major leaguer to lose a no-hitter in the ninth this season. Boston's Curt Schilling lost one June 7 in Oakland when Shannon Stewart singled with two out.

McGowan, a first-round pick in the 2000 draft, was hit hard in his previous start, giving up six runs and eight hits in 1 2/3 innings against the Dodgers.

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