The author of the seventh no-hitter ever thrown against the Mets owns a fastball that might have trouble shattering a pane of glass. His presence in the Giants rotation is as much an ode to circumstance -- an injury to Matt Cain -- as it is to his own modest ability.
Until Tuesday night, little evidence suggested that greatness might one day flow from a 27-year-old rookie named Chris Heston.
Latest Mets stories
Yet there he stood tall Tuesday night, his arms outstretched on the pitcher's mound at Citi Field, just a heartbeat after recording the final out of the most suspense-free of no-hitters.See alsoBoxscore: Mets vs. Giants
"It was a pretty exciting moment," Heston said after he no-hit the Mets in a 5-0 win. "It's definitely something I'll remember forever."
So, too, will the Mets, who had not been no-hit in 21 years.
Heston is the first pitcher to no-hit the Mets since Darryl Kile on Sept. 8, 1993, who did it for the Astros in Houston. The rest of the list includes Koufax (1962), Jim Bunning (1964), Bob Moose (1969), Bill Stoneman (1972), Ed Halicki (1975), whose no-hitter also came as a member of the Giants.
Terry Collins' baseball career spans more than four decades, an odyssey of space and time that has taken him from the thin air in Albuquerque to the rare air of New York.
He oversaw Johan Santana's no-hitter on this same field three years ago. But until Tuesday night, the Mets manager had never been on the wrong end of history. "He just never missed his spot," Collins said of Heston, who struck out 11.
Neither had Michael Cuddyer, an 18-year veteran of professional baseball, and just one of two Mets that managed to get the ball to the outfield. "You definitely want to break it up," Cuddyer said. "Nobody wants to get no-hit . . . it doesn't feel good."
Not that the Mets put up much of a fight, with their injury-ravaged lineup flailing against Heston's assortment of middling sinkers and curveballs.
Of Heston's 110 pitches -- 72 of them strikes -- the hardest-hit went foul. It came off the bat of Wilmer Flores on a hanging curveball, a rare mistake.
Not until the eighth did the Mets come remotely close to a hit, when Eric Campbell barreled a pitch and sent it toward the hole. But shortstop Brandon Crawford made a smooth backhand play to snuff out even the faintest hope.
"I hit it decently," said Campbell, who conceded that he knew it was an out once Crawford gloved it cleanly.
All that separated Heston from bidding for a perfect game was a trifecta of plunked batters: Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada in the fourth and Anthony Recker to lead off the ninth.
By the ninth, the Mets appeared resigned to their fate. After Recker was plunked, the Mets' next three hitters all took called third strikes from plate umpire Rob Drake.
With fans wielding their cell phones to record history, the Mets quietly shuffled off their home field as a crowd of 23,155 erupted as if the Giants never moved out of Harlem.
Heston (6-4, 3.77 ERA) raised his arms before throwing them around catcher Buster Posey.
Heston had already been designated for assignment once in his career. And on paper, he looked outmatched by Noah Syndergaard and his 100 mph fastball. But on a night in which Syndergaard allowed four runs on 10 hits, Heston dominated the Mets despite a fastball that never topped 92 mph.