Less than two weeks after teammate Tyler Skaggs tragically passed away, the Los Angeles Angels celebrated his memory in a special way on Friday.
On an emotional night in Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels honored their departed teammate in the perfect way.
Angels pitchers Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined to throw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night, coming just a baserunner away from a perfect game. The Angels won the game 13-0 at Angel Stadium.
Skaggs died in his Texas hotel room on July 1 while the Angels were preparing to face the Texas Rangers. Their game that night was cancelled, and the Angels hadn’t had the opportunity to return home since. Coming off the All-Star break, Friday’s game was the first home game for the Angels since Skaggs’ death, and memorials to him were throughout the stadium. His mother Debbie threw out the first pitch, right down the middle. The Angels carried out his framed jersey in a touching pre-game ceremony. His picture was put up on the outfield wall. And every Angels player wore his No. 45 on the back of their jerseys.
Cole started the game, pitching two perfect innings before being relieved by Pena. Cole and Pena combined to retire the first 13 batters before a one-out walk to Omar Narvaez in the fifth inning, the only Mariners runner who would reach base this night.
The closest the Mariners came to a hit came in the sixth inning when Angels third baseman Matt Thaiss made a diving stop on a Mac Williamson grounder and threw him out at first.
After pitching six innings in relief, Pena went back out to the mound to begin the ninth inning, three outs away from history. He got Williamson to fly out to center on the first pitch of the inning. Dee Gordon then grounded out back to the mound for the second out. Finally, Mallex Smith hit a sharp ground to second that Luis Rengifo knocked down and recovered to throw out Smith at first for the final out. Cole and Pena combined for eight strikeouts and just one walk. After the game, the Angels laid down Skaggs’ jersey on the mound, the place where they will always remember him standing.
The no-hitter is the first for the Angels franchise since Jered Weaver threw one against the Minnesota Twins in 2012. It’s the second no-hitter of this season after Oakland’s Mike Fiers accomplished the feat on May 8.
Cole and Pena weren’t the only Angels who put in a memorable performance in honor of Skaggs. Mike Trout hit a 454-foot, two-run home run to center field in the first inning and finished the game 3-4 with two doubles and six RBI.
The Angels improved to .500 on the season with the win, but that won’t be remembered. Friday night was all about Skaggs, and the Angels tribute couldn’t have been more fitting.