A’s pitcher records win without facing batter in statistical anomaly

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Oakland Athletics reliever Sean Newcomb recorded his first win of the year on Friday night with zero batters faced. So, how did he do it?

With the A’s trailing, 5-4, against the Minnesota Twins with two outs in the eighth inning and a man on first, Newcomb entered the game from the bullpen. 

After getting to a 1-1 count, the left-hander decided to throw over to first, but the runner got in a rundown.

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Sean Newcomb of the Athletics pitches against the Seattle Mariners on June 4, 2024, at the Oakland Coliseum in California. (Brandon Vallance/Getty Images)

Eventually, Austin Martin was tagged out, which ended the inning. Statistically speaking, a batter is “faced” if the at-bat itself results in an out, whether it’s the batter or a runner via a fielder’s choice.

However, since it was Newcomb’s pickoff that resulted in the out, no batter was “faced.”

Then, in the bottom half of the inning, Shea Langeliers hit a two-run homer off Jhoan Duran to give Oakland a 6-5 lead.

So, with the lead, Oakland brought in their flame-throwing closer in Mason Miller, and he recorded the save – thus giving Newcomb the win, despite throwing two pitches.

Sean Newcomb pitching

Sean Newcomb of the Athletics pitches against the San Diego Padres at RingCentral Coliseum on Sept. 15, 2023, in Oakland, California. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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It was the first time in the 124-year history of the A’s that a pitcher recorded the win without facing a batter. It still goes down as one-third of an inning in the stat sheet.

It was Newcomb’s fourth appearance of the season, but the previous two hadn’t gone well. He had given up five earned runs in his previous two outings combined in just 3.1 innings.

But it’s early for Newcomb, who had a 3.00 ERA for the A’s last year and is in his eighth big league season. He spent his first six years with the Atlanta Braves before going to the Cubs during the 2022 season.

Sean Newcomb in media day

Sean Newcomb of the Oakland Athletics poses during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on Feb. 23, 2024, in Mesa, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The A’s improved to, albeit a measly, 29-49 with the win, but Minnesota got revenge with a 10-2 victory on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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