Scott leaps for joy with the final out
(c) Houston Astros
Game Story Video and Audio Photos Box Score and Play By Play
September 25, 1986 - On this day in Astros history, the Astros needed just one victory to clinch the second division title in franchise history. Sending their ace Mike Scott to the mound, the Astros and the 32,000-plus fans in attendance got more than they bargained for. With a performance that virtually assured him the Cy Young award, Scott no-hit the San Francisco Giants for the clincher, setting up a playoff showdown with the New York Mets two weeks later. Scott was dominating, allowing only three runners while striking out 13. The game was close to the end, with their only runs coming from a solo homer by Denny Walling in the fifth inning and an RBI single by Jose Cruz in the seventh inning.
The 1986 season holds a special place in the heart of many Astros fans, partly because it was the last time that the team had come a heartbeat away from a trip to the World Series. The season ended with a heartbreaking, 16-inning playoff loss to the Mets in Game 6 of the NLCS -- a game that many call the "greatest game ever played." With Scott waiting to take the mound in Game 7, many Mets admitted afterwards that they considered Game 6 a "do or die" game. The Astros consolation prizes after the season came when Scott won the Cy Young award, the first and only Astro pitcher to win the award. Since the team struggled in 1987 and started rebuilding in 1990, many fans now look back at the 1986 team as greatest of the strong teams from the Eighties.
Sept. 26, 1986
For those who were touched by one of sport's golden moments, there simply was no better way for the Houston Astros to complete plans for baseball's upcoming Silver Anniversary Series. In a division-clinching effort that caused a wave of emotion, righthander Mike Scott, 31, pitched a no-hitter Thursday in a 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants that gave the Astros the National League West title.
"I'm numb, I'm tired, but this is fantastic," Scott shouted. "Right now, I hope I don't fall down and pass out."
It is the first time a pitcher has clinched a pennant or division with a no-hitter. However, Allie Reynolds of the New York Yankees clinched a tie for the American League pennant with a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader on Sept. 28, 1951, an 8-0 rout of the Boston Red Sox.
The last no-hitter thrown by an Astros pitcher was on Sept. 26, 1981, by Nolan Ryan, the fifth of his career, a major league record. The last no-hitter thrown against the Giants was on May 10, 1981, by Charlie Lea of the Expos.
Winning the division championship would have been enough cause for celebration for the Astros, whose storybook season has been a tonic for a city in need of such diversions. But to have Scott pitch such a memorable game on such a meaningful day was simply too much for some Astros to bear. After the game, Astros second baseman Bill Doran stood dripping in champagne in front of his clubhouse locker and screamed. "I've been a time bomb for the last month and a half," Doran said. "I was ready to go off."
So were the Astros, who used Scott's no-hitter as a slingshot that secured a berth in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series in two weeks against the New York Mets. The Astros and Mets are celebrating their 25th anniversaries this season. But never in Houston's previous 24 years in the majors had a game provided such drama.
"Shakespeare couldn't have written this any better," Astros reliever Charley Kerfeld said. "We wanted to get this one for the city of Houston and we got it."
Scott had 13 strikeouts and retired 14 consecutive batters in one stretch as he offered compelling evidence that he, and not Dodgers lefthander Fernando Valenzuela, should be rewarded with the NL Cy Young Award in honor of the league's outstanding pitcher.
"If he's not the Cy Young Award winner, then I've never seen one," Ryan said of Scott. "I can't ever remember a game with such importance that was so dominated by one person."
Astros manager Hal Lanier said, "This has to be my happiest moment in baseball. To end up clinching the division title with a no-hitter in my first year as a major league manager... well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys."
Scott appeared emotionally drained as he basked in the glare of the camera flashes that accompanied his finest hour. As he tried to savor the impact of his first no-hitter, he was asked what the Astros could do to top their most recent feat.
"Win the World Series," he said, a possibility that was no more than a crazy dream for the Astros in spring training. "Our main concern today was to win (the NL West) at home. On my first pitch, I was out of control. I threw it as hard as I can. I was just glad no one got hurt." Scott's first pitch hit San Francisco center fielder Dan Gladden in the back.
"The split-finger fastball I had today was the best I had all year," Scott said. "I started thinking about the no-hitter in the seventh inning. I just wanted to keep throwing strikes."
Will Clark ended the game with a grounder to first baseman Glenn Davis. "(Scott) is the toughest pitcher I've ever seen," Clark said.
Scott maintains his no-hit
focus in the 9th inning
(c) Houston Astros
The team celebrates the no-hitter and the playoff clinch
(c) Houston Astros
Larry Dierker looks on as Scott is poured another drink
(c) Houston Astros
Game of 9/25/1986 -- San Francisco at Houston (D) Courtesy of Retrosheet San Francisco AB R H RBI Houston AB R H RBI Gladden D, cf 3 0 0 0 Hatcher B, cf 4 0 0 0 Thompson R, 2b 4 0 0 0 Doran B, 2b 4 0 2 0 Clark W, 1b 4 0 0 0 Walling D, 3b 4 2 2 1 Maldonado C, lf 3 0 0 0 Davis G, 1b 2 0 1 0 Davis C, rf 2 0 0 0 Bass K, rf 3 0 1 0 Brenly B, 3b 3 0 0 0 Cruz J, lf 2 0 1 1 Ouellette P, c 2 0 0 0 Ashby A, c 4 0 2 0 Uribe J, ss 2 0 0 0 Reynolds C, ss 2 0 0 0 Spilman H, ph 1 0 0 0 Thon D, ph-ss 2 0 0 0 Quinones L, pr-ss 0 0 0 0 Scott M, p 4 0 1 0 Berenguer J, p 1 0 0 0 Lancellotti R, ph 1 0 0 0 Davis M, p 0 0 0 0 Aldrete M, ph 1 0 0 0 Garrelts S, p 0 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 27 0 0 0 31 2 10 2 San Francisco 000 000 000 -- 0 Houston 000 010 10x -- 2 San Francisco IP H R ER BB SO Berenguer J (L) 5.0 8 1 1 4 2 Davis M 2.0 2 1 1 1 3 Garrelts S 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 Houston IP H R ER BB SO Scott M (W) 9.0 0 0 0 2 13 Game winning RBI -- Walling D DP -- San Francisco 1 LOB -- San Francisco 3, Houston 11 HR -- Walling D SB -- Gladden D, Hatcher B, Davis C, Bass K CS -- Hatcher B HBP -- by Scott M (Gladden D), by Berenguer J (Hatcher B) WP -- Berenguer J, Davis M T -- NA A -- 32,808
Game of Thursday, 9/25/1986 -- San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros Courtesy of Retrosheet Starting Lineups: San Francisco Houston 1. CF Dan Gladden CF Billy Hatcher 2. 2B Robby Thompson 2B Bill Doran 3. 1B Will Clark 3B Denny Walling 4. LF Candy Maldonado 1B Glenn Davis 5. RF Chili Davis RF Kevin Bass 6. 3B Bob Brenly LF Jose Cruz 7. C Phil Ouellette C Alan Ashby 8. SS Jose Uribe SS Craig Reynolds 9. P Juan Berenguer P Mike Scott GIANTS 1ST: D.Gladden was hit by a pitch D.Gladden stole second R.Thompson popped to C.Reynolds-ss W.Clark grounded out (A.Ashby-c to G.Davis-1b) [D.Gladden to third] C.Maldonado popped to G.Davis-1b 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. ASTROS 1ST: B.Hatcher was hit by a pitch B.Hatcher stole second B.Doran struck out B.Hatcher was caught stealing third (P.Ouellette-c to B.Brenly-3b) D.Walling singled to center field G.Davis singled to left field [D.Walling to second] K.Bass flied to C.Davis-rf 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. GIANTS 2ND: C.Davis walked C.Davis stole second B.Brenly struck out P.Ouellette struck out J.Uribe popped to B.Doran-2b 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. ASTROS 2ND: J.Cruz walked A.Ashby singled to right field [J.Cruz to second] C.Reynolds flied to C.Maldonado-lf M.Scott forced J.Cruz (J.Berenguer-p to B.Brenly-3b) [A.Ashby to second, M.Scott to first] B.Hatcher grounded out (J.Uribe-ss to W.Clark-1b) 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. GIANTS 3RD: J.Berenguer grounded out (D.Walling-3b to G.Davis-1b) D.Gladden grounded out (D.Walling-3b to G.Davis-1b) R.Thompson struck out 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. ASTROS 3RD: B.Doran singled to right field D.Walling grounded into a double play (R.Thompson-2b to J.Uribe-ss to W.Clark-1b) [B.Doran out at second] G.Davis walked K.Bass singled to right field [G.Davis to second] J.Cruz struck out 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. GIANTS 4TH: W.Clark grounded out (B.Doran-2b to G.Davis-1b) C.Maldonado struck out C.Davis grounded out (C.Reynolds-ss to G.Davis-1b) 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. ASTROS 4TH: A.Ashby flied to C.Davis-r C.Reynolds flied to C.Davis-rf M.Scott singled to center field J.Berenguer threw a wild pitch [M.Scott to second] B.Hatcher popped to J.Uribe-ss 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. GIANTS 5TH: B.Brenly was called out on strikes P.Ouellette grounded out (G.Davis-1b to M.Scott-p) J.Uribe flied to K.Bass-rf 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 0. ASTROS 5TH: B.Doran grounded out (R.Thompson-2b to W.Clark-1b) D.Walling homered to rightfield G.Davis grounded out (B.Brenly-3b to W.Clark-1b) K.Bass walked K.Bass stole second J.Cruz was walked intentionally A.Ashby singled to left field (C.Maldonado-lf to P.Ouellette-c) [K.Bass out at home, J.Cruz to second] 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 1. GIANTS 6TH: R.LANCELLOTTI BATTED FOR J.BERENGUER R.Lancellotti struck out D.Gladden struck out R.Thompson struck out 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 1. ASTROS 6TH: D.THON BATTED FOR C.REYNOLDS M.DAVIS REPLACED R.LANCELLOTTI (PITCHING) D.Thon struck out M.Scott struck out B.Hatcher flied to C.Maldonado-lf 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 1. GIANTS 7TH: D.THON STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING SS) W.Clark struck out C.Maldonado struck out C.Davis grounded out (G.Davis-1b unassisted) 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 1. ASTROS 7TH: B.Doran singled to center field D.Walling forced B.Doran (J.Uribe-ss to R.Thompson-2b) [D.Walling to first] M.Davis threw a wild pitch [D.Walling to second] G.Davis was walked intentionally K.Bass struck out J.Cruz singled to left field [D.Walling scored, G.Davis to second] A.Ashby forced J.Cruz (B.Brenly-3b to R.Thompson-2b) [A.Ashby to first] 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 2. GIANTS 8TH: B.Brenly struck out P.Ouellette walked H.SPILMAN BATTED FOR J.URIBE H.Spilman forced P.Ouellette (B.Doran-2b to D.Thon-ss) [H.Spilman to first] L.QUINONES RAN FOR H.SPILMAN M.ALDRETE BATTED FOR M.DAVIS M.Aldrete flied to B.Hatcher-cf 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 2. ASTROS 8TH: L.QUINONES STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING SS) S.GARRELTS REPLACED M.ALDRETE (PITCHING) D.Thon struck out M.Scott struck out B.Hatcher was called out on strikes 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 2. GIANTS 9TH: D.Gladden struck out R.Thompson struck out W.Clark grounded out (G.Davis-1b unassisted) 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Giants 0, Astros 2. Final Totals R H E LOB Giants 0 0 0 3 Astros 2 10 0 11