CLEVELAND, SEPT. 2 -- Right-hander Dave Stieb, 33, always has been good enough to pitch a no-hitter but until today wasn't lucky enough. After coming so close so often -- four times he had taken no-hitters into the ninth inning -- he finally got one and it gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 3-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
He struck out nine and walked four in the Blue Jays' first-ever no-hitter. But it was the ninth in the majors this season, a record.
"Maybe it's not that tough to get one this year," he said. "That's why I got one. I wasn't real nervous. I've been there quite a few times. I was struggling with my control a little bit the whole game. They helped me out by swinging at some balls in the dirt. I could have been in some more jams. I had much better stuff the other times, much better control. I always knew it took a lot of luck to get a no-hitter."
The Indians hit seven balls out of the infield, but the closest thing to a hit was Ken Phelps's hard grounder along the right field line in the eighth inning. It was foul by several feet.
Stieb (17-5) had taken no-hitters down to the last out three times. This time, Jerry Browne closed it out with a line drive to Junior Felix in right. The crowd of 23,640 -- many had driven from Toronto -- gave him a standing ovation.
The Indians hadn't been held hitless since Dean Chance of the Twins did it Aug. 25, 1967. No no-hitter had been pitched in Cleveland Stadium since Len Barker's perfect game May 15, 1981, against the Blue Jays.
On Sept. 24, 1988, Stieb had a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth in Cleveland Stadium, then Julio Franco's routine grounder bad-hopped over second baseman Manny Lee.
"I didn't want a ground ball this time," Lee said. "I wanted to see a fly ball. I didn't want that to happen again."
The Indians, who had lost seven straight, agreed that Stieb was less than awesome.
"The way we've been playing, to see that happen I guess probably doesn't surprise too many people," Phelps said. "I've seen him throw better. He's been so close so many times, I guess it was bound to happen."
Stieb also lost no-hitters with one out to go against the Orioles Sept. 30, 1988 (Jim Traber singled), and the Yankees Aug. 4, 1989 (Roberto Kelly doubled).
This time, he had no trouble. Pinch hitter Chris James flied out and pinch hitter Candy Maldonado struck out. Alex Cole walked on four pitches to bring up Browne.
Fred McGriff, whose five hits Saturday night included a homer in an 8-0 victory here, homered twice today, giving him 31 this season. His first today came in the fourth inning. The Blue Jays made it 2-0 in the fifth when Ken Williams and Lee doubled consecutively. McGriff homered in the ninth off Jesse Orosco.