There must have been quite the buzz around New York's tabloid newsrooms when Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Thursday's game with the Nationals.
Not only is the right-hander blessed with a last name tailor-made for a splashy back page headline to celebrate such a monumental achievement, he would also be making a significant bit of history for the Mets franchise. As you're probably well aware, the Mets have never had a pitcher pull off the trick while wearing one of their uniforms.
That the pitcher who finally gets it done is someone on the level of Gee as opposed to Seaver, Gooden or Santana (two of whom did the deed after leaving Queens, of course) feels about right.
But it is probably too much to ask that they also have a last name so perfectly suited for the next day's Post.
Maybe that's why Gee got two outs in the sixth before allowing Livan Hernandez, the opposing pitcher, to roll a single up the middle and make the Mets wait a little bit longer for their chance to carry a pitcher off the mound. Gee would have to settle for allowing two hits in seven-and-two-thirds innings and handing the 1-0 game over to the bullpen.
Taking the Gee Train!
Before Gee came out of the game, Terry Collins gave him a chance to make this a big step forward in his career. Collins left him in to face veteran professional hitter Matt Stairs with two on and one out in the seventh and Gee got him to fly out to right.
No one would have thought twice if Collins summoned Byrdak for a lefty-lefty matchup in a one-run game, but the manager decided to see how Gee would handle a major league jam. He handled it as well as possible and took a healthy step in the maturation process as a result.
Dillon Goes Electric!
The loss of the no-hitter didn't mean that things weren't destined to go the Mets' way on Thursday, however. Tim Byrdak got the last out in the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez got the save (and another step toward $17.5 million) when he stranded the tying run on third with the help of a butchered call at first on Jayson Werth.
Pitching in the Key of Gee Major!
The no-hitter will happen someday, but for now we'll take a young pitcher feeling his oats on a day when he had zero margin for error. The headlines will wait.