The Philadelphia Phillies were no-hit for the second time in as many weekends. Las week, it was the Mets’ young fireballer, Nolan Ryan. Yesterday at San Diego Stadium, the Phils matched up with 21-year-old Clay Kirby, a 19-game loser last season who entered this contest with an ERA of 8.83. But, Kirby showed promise in his last start, a 6-2 win against the Mets on Tuesday, and he delivered on Sunday with a 2-0 no-hitter against Philadelphia in front of an announced crowd of 14,480 fans.
Kirby cruised through the first five innings staked to a 1-0 lead on Ollie Brown’s RBI single scoring Dave Campbell who doubled off Phils’ starter Chris Short. After a lead off walk to Short in the sixth, Kirby retired Denny Doyle on a fly out to right. Don Money followed with an easy ball back to Kirby who appeared to have a double play in order. But, Clay dropped the ball, and his hurried throw to first failed to beat out Money. Kirby loaded the bases with a four-pitch free pass to Johnny Briggs. But with the bases loaded, Kirby regrouped to strike out Deron Johnson and Tim McCarver to end the inning.
Clarence Gaston added an insurance run in the seventh with a RBI double scoring Jerry Morales. In the ninth, Kirby was saved by his defense as Briggs’ grounder eluded Nate Colbert at first, but Campbell backed up Colbert and hit Kirby in stride at the first base bag for the inning’s first out. Kirby struck out Johnson again, his sixth of the afternoon. With the crowd standing in anticipation, McCarver bounced out to Campbell at second end the game. Kirby was crowded by his teammates and fans entering the field, and finally raised up as the club exited toward a clubhouse celebration.
Kirby, a third-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, was the Padres’ sixth pick (12th overall) in the 1968 expansion draft to stock the Padres and the Montreal Expos. The franchise has taken a youthful approach to its’ roster, and these gems from 21-year-olds are finally rewarding the front office brass’ patience. It has been an improbable start to the 1970 campaign for the Padres. A 109-loss expansion club last season has sprung out of the gate, winners of 12 of their first 18 games.