Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros
Ronel Blanco celebrating with catcher Yainier Díaz after successfully completing the first no-hitter of his career Via @Astros on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - It took less than a week for Major League Baseball to see the first no-hitter of the season. Houston Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco had the game of his career against the Toronto Blue Jays, completing all nine innings without allowing a single hit in just the 8th start of his career in the Majors, walking two batter and striking out seven for the Astros' 17th no-hitter in franchise history.

One of the hardest things to accomplish in the world of baseball, Blanco's no-hitter was the 323rd instance that this happened in MLB's long and storied history. In fact, the Dominican's feat was extra special considering the fact he had never completed a nine-inning game in his career.

Blanco threw 105 pitches during his nine-inning outing averaging 93.6 mph per throw. He walked two batters and stroke out seven with fellow Dominican Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being the last batter separating Blanco from making history.

It wasn't just a historic night for Blanco, but also for the whole of Latin America. Before Blanco, Framber Valdéz was the last Latino to throw a no-hitter when he did so last August in the Astros' 2-0 win over the Cleveland Guardians. With Blanco joining the list, now 10 Dominican pitchers have recorded a 'no-no', the second most by any country behind the United States.

The first Dominican player -and first Latino- to make history with a no-hitter under his belt was Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, doing so in 1963 for the San Francisco Giants. It took more than 30 years for the Major League Baseball to see another Dominican throw a 'no-no', with Ramón Martínez pitching a no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fast forward to today, 10 Dominican players have thrown all nine-innings of a no-hitter while others have shared the load with other pitchers. Since 2010, a total of 17 Latinos have had a hand in such games with Dominican players representing 65% of the total.

Christian Javier is the only Latino since 2010 to contribute to two no-hitters, pitching seven innings against the Yankees in June of 2022 and followed it with six more innings of a joint 'no-no' for the Astros against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series.

After the Astros defense safely took out Vladdy Jr., Blanco looked up to the sky as a sign of relief. To be fair to Blanco, life has been a rollercoaster for the Dominican in the past few weeks. He made the Astros roster in the last day of Spring Training and, on March 26, he had to pitch a game just a few hours after his wife Yanissa had delivered their second baby. "I see it as a life changing experience," Blanco said through an interpreter after the game. "I dedicate this to my family and my daughter." In one of the best moments of the night, an emotional Blanco was seen embracing an emotional moment with his mother.

Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros
Ronel Blanco celebrating with his mother after his no-hitter against the Blue Jays; he is the 10th Dominican pitcher to throw an entire game with no hits allowed Via @Astros on X/Twitter

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.