OAKLAND — Many A’s fans likely hadn’t heard of Mike Foltynewicz before Friday, and those who knew his name probably couldn’t pronounce it.
The Braves right-hander thrust himself into the national baseball spotlight, coming within three outs after throwing the first no-hitter at the A’s in 26 years.
Matt Olson homered on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth and spoil the no-hit bid, though Oakland couldn’t avoid a 3-1 loss to Atlanta at the Coliseum.
Thus, the major leagues’ longest streak of a team not being no-hit remains intact.
The last time the A’s were held hitless came way back on July 13, 1991, a combined no-no at the Coliseum by the Baltimore Orioles’ Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson.
Foltynewicz — it’s pronounced Fol-ten-eh-vich — had never even thrown a complete game in his three-plus big league career before Friday. But the 25-year-old took an otherwise nondescript interleague game between two sub-.500 teams and injected a shot of drama into it.
Just four Athletics reached base, all via walks, leading up to the ninth. Scattered applause came from the crowd of 19,286 as Foltynewicz emerged from the dugout and took the mound trying to finish off the no-no, his pitch count at 110.
Olson, a rookie playing in just his 25th big league game, worked the count full and ended a nine-pitch at-bat by hitting a 94 mile-per-hour fastball over the right field wall. That was his last batter, as Braves manager Brian Snitker came to get Foltynewicz after 119 pitches. Former Athletic Jim Johnson gave up Jed Lowrie’s double but then struck out three in a row to end it.
That storyline overshadowed what was a terrific start by the A’s Sonny Gray, who went eight innings and gave up just one run on two hits.