Cubs have combined no-hitter through 8 innings vs Dodgers

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Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Zach Davies delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are working on a combined no-hitter through eight innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The Cubs led 4-0 in their quest for the majors’ seventh no-hitter of the year — which would match four other seasons for the most in the majors since 1900.

The Dodgers drew seven walks, but had no other baserunners heading to the ninth.

Right-hander Zach Davies started with six resilient innings, and reliever Ryan Tepera issued one walk in the seventh. Andrew Chafin yielded another walk in the eighth.

Davies issued five walks and used 94 pitches to get through the first six innings, but still managed to keep the defending World Series champions without a hit in the 16th start of his first season with the Cubs.

Tepera, the busiest reliever in Chicago’s solid bullpen, walked Gavin Lux with two outs in the seventh. Austin Barnes lined out to second to end another hitless inning.

Chafin walked Mookie Betts with one out, but Max Muncy hit a grounder right to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who stepped on the bag and threw to second for an easy double play.

Six no-hitters have been thrown in the majors already this year, but none since May 19. The Boston Red Sox took a bid for a combined no-hitter into the eighth inning earlier Thursday, but lost the no-no and the game at Tampa Bay.

With another no-hitter this season — which would be the 312th in baseball history — 2021 would match 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015 for the most in a single MLB season since 1900. That’s one shy of the record eight in 1884, the first season overhand pitching was allowed.

Davies bounced back sharply after yielding a career-high eight runs in his last start against Miami. Those eight runs matched the number he had allowed in his previous six starts combined, and he regained his excellent form at Dodger Stadium.

Davies still had control issues in Chavez Ravine, however. He walked two batters in the first before getting Albert Pujols to ground out to end it.

He walked the leadoff batter in the third and fourth, but avoided any other trouble. The fifth inning was his first 1-2-3 frame, and he retired the Dodgers in order in the sixth as well.

The Dodgers got closest to a hit in the first inning when Chris Taylor’s line drive to center was caught by Rafael Ortega.

Davies has never thrown a complete game in his seven-year major league career, which began with five seasons in Milwaukee before he moved to San Diego last year.

Javier Báez staked Davies to an early lead by homering off Walker Buehler in the first inning, and Willson Contreras added a two-run shot in the sixth. Jake Marisnick delivered an RBI single off David Price in the seventh.

The Cubs have 16 no-hitters in franchise history. Alec Mills threw a no-no last September against Milwaukee.

The Dodgers haven’t been no-hit since Aug. 30, 2015, when the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta did it at Dodger Stadium. Arrieta is scheduled to pitch for Chicago on Friday night.

The most recent combined no-hitter in the majors was Aug. 3, 2019, when Aaron Sanchez and three Houston relievers blanked Seattle 9-0. Sanchez pitched six hitless innings in his Astros debut.

Buehler’s streak of 30 consecutive appearances without a loss since Sept. 21, 2019 — including 23 straight regular-season starts — was in serious jeopardy. Buehler still made it through six innings for the 15th time this season and the 17th straight time overall dating to last year’s championship playoff run.

Buehler took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his most recent start in Arizona last weekend.

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