On a night dedicated to Tyler Skaggs, the Los Angeles Angels threw a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners in an emotional game that served as a fitting goodbye to their late pitcher.
The team kicked off their first home game since Skaggs’ sudden July 1 death on Friday, with a special pre-game ceremony that included a video montage and a 45-second moment of silence in honor of his jersey number.
His mother, Debbie Hetman, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Skaggs’ teammates all wore jerseys with his name and number stitched across the back.
The no-hitter was thrown by Taylor Cole, who pitched the first two innings, and Felix Pena, who took the mound for the rest.
“This is all for him,” Pena said, according to ESPN. “I feel like we have an angel looking down on us.”
The Angels dominated the Mariners from the start, scoring seven runs in the first inning alone off of pitcher Mike Leake. Among those runs was a Mike Trout homer that, coincidentally, traveled 454 feet — again hearkening to Skaggs’ jersey.
And that wasn’t the only special coincidence. After scoring seven runs in the first inning, the Angels went on to earn six more, bringing the total to 13. Skaggs’ birthday, which fell on Saturday — the next day — was 7/13.
In another inexplicable twist, the last time a combined no-hitter was thrown in the state of California was July 13, 1991 — the day Skaggs was born, according to ESPN.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Trout reportedly said. “I’m speechless. This is the best way to honor him.”
Upon clinching their victory, the team gathered for one more emotional moment as each player removed his Skaggs jersey and laid it out over the pitcher’s mound.
Skaggs, a 27-year-old newlywed, was found dead on July 1 in his Texas hotel room as the Angels were on the road for a series against the Rangers. His cause of death has yet to be determined, but police said they do not suspect foul play.
ESPN reports that an autopsy will not be completed until early October, though for Angels manager Brad Ausmus, it doesn’t really matter.
“His loss is his loss, and there’s an emptiness regardless of the cause. I’m not in any rush to find out. All I know is Tyler Skaggs is no longer here. He had a lot of friends and family that cared about him a lot. The reason he died isn’t what hurts; the fact that he died is what hurts.”