USA TODAY Sports’ Gabe Lacques reflects on the life of Tyler Skaggs and the impression that he left on the baseball world.
On a night they paid tribute to Tyler Skaggs, the Los Angeles Angels honored the late pitcher in perhaps the best way they could: With a no-hitter.
Taylor Cole and Felix Peña combined to shut down the Seattle Mariners for the second no-hitter of the MLB season and a 13-0 win. Cole was perfect through the first two innings before Peña took over and limited the Mariners to one walk over the final seven innings. Peña retired the final 14 hitters he faced.
“You can’t make this up,” Angels star Mike Trout told MLB Network. “This is incredible. We obviously loved him and it’s a very emotional night for all of us.”
Cole had two strikeouts, and Peña struck out six. The closest the Mariners got to a hit came in the sixth inning when Mac Williamson hit a hard grounder toward the hole on the left side. But Angels third baseman Matt Thaiss made a diving stop, scrambled to his feet and threw to first for the out.
The entire Angels team wore Skaggs’ No. 45 in their first home game since the pitcher’s death on July 1. The team honored Skaggs with an emotional pregame tribute, and his mother threw out the first pitch.
“The pregame ceremony to honor him was unbelievable. The Angels did a great job of that to honor his family,” Trout said. “What a group of guys to come together on a very emotional night.”
Peña retired Mallex Smith on a groundout to second base for the final out to complete the 11th no-hitter in Angels franchise history. After the celebratory hugs, the Angels removed their jerseys and placed them on the mound in one final tribute to Skaggs.
“For sure I felt him,” Peña said of Skaggs. “Every time I was on the mound, I was trying to remember the words he said to me: ‘Focus, focus.’ “
Trout, who wore Skagg’s number for the All-Star Game earlier this week, went 3-for-4 with a home run and six RBI. He crushed a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first, then added a two-run double later in the inning as the Angels sent 13 batters to the plate and scored seven runs.
Justin Upton and Dustin Garneau each drove in two runs, and Andrelton Simmons scored three times.
“That was one of the most special moments I have been a part of on a major league field,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Just the way the game went and culminating with a no-hitter. You feel like it’s partly Skaggy’s no-hitter.”
The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in his Texas hotel room nearly two weeks ago when the team was on a road trip. The cause of death is still unknown, but police have said no foul play is suspected. Friday night was the Angels’ first home game since the trip to end the first half and the All-Star break.
Saturday would have been Skaggs’ 28th birthday.