After an improbable 9th inning comeback on Saturday, 22nd round draft pick Alec “#NerdAlert” Mills took the mound for the Chicago Cubs in Sunday’s rubber match against the Milwaukee Brewers seeking to secure a series victory for the Northsiders. Prior to the 2020 season, many Cubs fans doubted Mills’s ability to step into the rotation after the departure of Cole Hamels and an injury to José Quintana.
Mills entered Sunday’s action with a 5-4 record and a respectable 4.19 ERA (96 ERA+). He then exceeded all expectations for his outing by pitching the 16th no-hitter in Cubs franchise history (box score). It was the first Cubs no-hitter since Jake Arrieta‘s April 21, 2016 effort against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Mills’s no-no was notably the second Cubs no-hitter at Miller Park in Milwaukee but their first against the Brew Crew. The other Miller Park no-hitter was thrown by former Cubs great Carlos Zambrano against the Houston Astros when two Houston home games were relocated due to the landfall of Hurricane Ike.
Mills’s feat was the second no-hitter of the 2020 season, following Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito‘s August 25th outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was a historic moment for Chicago baseball, as Cubs and White Sox pitchers had never thrown no-hitters in the same season.
The Cubs offense, which had been shut out by Milwaukee pitching until the 9th inning of Saturday’s game, took advantage of the Crew’s defensive miscues to provide Mills with more than adequate run support. Mills’s counterpart, Adrian “Puke N’ Rally” Houser, allowed seven runs (two earned) on four hits in 4.0 IP.
Backup catcher Victor Caratini went 2-4 with two runs scored, three RBI and one walk while also catching a no-hitter for the first time in the major leagues.
The series loss was a significant blow to the Brewers’ hopes of advancing to a third consecutive postseason appearance. They would not qualify for a playoff spot if the season ended today and currently sit 2.0 games behind the #8 San Francisco Giants.
The Northsiders remain atop the NL Central with a record of 28-20, 4.0 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. Their campaign to retake the Central Division crown continues at 8:15 PM ET on Tuesday with the first of two games against the Cleveland franchise at Wrigley Field. 2020 NL Cy Young Award candidate Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.77 ERA) will face Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 3.12 ERA).