Craig Kimbrel Didn’t Know He Was Finishing Cubs No-Hitter Until After Final Out

How often are closers in position to finish off no-nos?

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June 25, 2021

Surely Chicago Cubs fans can forgive Craig Kimbrel for not realizing he was finishing the 15th combined no-hitter in Major League Baseball history.

The Cubs closer admitted Thursday night he didn’t know he was finishing a no-hitter until after he had retired the final Los Angeles Dodgers batter. Kimbrel, who struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning, came to the realization when his teammates reacted with unusual exuberance.

“It feels great,” Kimbrel said in a postgame interview, as seen in a video MLB.com’s Cut4 shared via Twitter. “I’m not gonna lie. I had no idea until the last out, and everybody came running out (to the mound). I was just locked in to the game and going out there trying to do my job.”

Cubs starter Zach Davies pitched the first six innings without allowing a hit. Relievers Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin followed suit in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. All that set the stage for Kimbrel, who entered the game for the bottom of the ninth inning, looking to record his 20th save of the season.

The Cubs’ combined no-hitter was the first in franchise history and the first in the majors since 2019.

Kimbrel’s focus has helped him become one of the best closers of all time. It only makes sense it might cause him to overlook certain details along the way.

Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin/Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Images
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