Chris Heston's no-hitter wasn't the first solid start of his young career, though it certainly could go down as his most memorable. What he'd like to forget is how poorly he pitched following his other fantastic outings.
The 27-year-old rookie now looks to help the San Francisco Giants avoid their longest home losing streak in nearly 22 years when he takes the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sunday's series finale.
Heston (6-4, 3.77 ERA) struck out 11, allowed only two balls out of the infield and overcame three hit batters to no-hit the New York Mets in a 5-0 victory Tuesday. It marked the first no-hitter in the majors this season and came in just his 13th career start.
"This has got to be No. 1, probably right next to my first big league appearance (a relief effort Sept. 13)," Heston said. "Definitely something I'll remember forever."
Reveling in his success could cost him again, though. Heston's best start prior to the no-no came May 12 when he allowed one run and two hits while striking out 10 in a complete-game, 8-1 victory over Houston.
However, he was chased before recording an out in the third inning after allowing five runs in his next outing against Cincinnati on May 17, then gave up six runs to Colorado five days later. On three other occasions, the right-hander has allowed one run or fewer only to give up at least five in his next start.
"Honestly, I think it's just a matter of him just kind of trying to find his way right now," catcher Buster Posey said. "He's still early in his career in establishing what type of pitcher he's going to be. And it's something that we all go through when we first get to the majors."
Rubby De La Rosa knows the ups and downs continue in the later years, too. He'll try to overcome his current struggles while handing the Giants (34-29) an eight straight home loss for the first time since Sept. 7-15, 1993.
De La Rosa (4-3, 5.84) is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA in four starts since giving up two runs in nine innings of Arizona's 3-2, 13-inning win over Miami on May 18. He gave up seven runs against Atlanta on June 3 and nine over five innings of Monday's 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The right-hander has given up two homers in five of his 12 outings, including each of the last three. Manager Chip Hale said he plans to keep De La Rosa in the rotation despite another disastrous start.
"He's one of our guys," Hale said. "We're in a situation here where we're trying to win games, and also trying to develop guys along the way. And with Rubby's stuff and his changeup and his velocity, we feel like he's worth the development. So we're just going to keep working with him and get him better."
De La Rosa has struggled against the Giants as well this season, allowing 10 runs and 17 hits over 12 innings in two April starts. The Diamondbacks (29-32), though, have held San Francisco to three runs while winning the last three meetings.
"The offense right now, we're out of sync," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose club has hit .135 over its last three games. "The first five innings we looked dead."
Arizona snapped a four-game skid with a 1-0 victory in Friday's series opener before scoring three in the first inning of Saturday's 4-2 win.
The Diamondbacks have won five of the last six matchups at AT&T Park.