It was the eighth no-hitter of the season, matching the major league record set in 1884, the first season overhand pitching was allowed.
Gilbert, 27, struck out Trent Grisham and Ha-Seong Kim in the ninth before Tommy Pham lined out to center fielder Ketel Marte. Joyous Diamondbacks players threw their gloves in the air and rushed the mound, mobbing the surprising hero who spent six seasons in the minors and was selected in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft last winter.
The only other pitchers to throw a no-hitter in their first career MLB start are Ted Breitenstein in 1891, Bumpus Jones in 1892 and Bobo Holloman in 1953, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“Crazy,” Gilbert said of his performance. “It’s not going to hit me for another day. I don’t know what just happened. That was crazy.”
Gilbert threw 102 pitches, including 64 strikes. He rarely delivered his fastball above 90 mph, but he effectively peppered the Padres with breaking pitches and leaned on his defense, which bailed him out on several hard-hit balls.
“I tried to tune out as much as I could,” Gilbert said. “But that last inning, I heard everything.”
Gilbert (1-1) struck out five and walked two. The sixth-round pick out of Southern California in 2015 had spent his entire career in the minor leagues until being called up a few weeks ago. He was making his fourth appearance.
Among those celebrating the first Diamondbacks no-hitter at home was Gilbert’s family. They were also on hand for his debut in relief on Aug. 3.
It was a stunning performance for the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in the big leagues this season. It’s the third no-hitter in franchise history and first since Edwin Jackson’s on June 25, 2010.
The Chicago Cubs threw the majors’ most recent no-hitter with a combined effort June 24. The other no-hitters this year were thrown by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (April 9), Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Baltimore’s John Means (May 5), Cincinnati’s Wade Miley (May 7), Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull (May 18) and the New York Yankees‘ Corey Kluber (May 19).
In addition, Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning hitless game in a doubleheader on April 25 that is not recognized as a no-hitter by Major League Baseball.
Most of those gems were thrown before MLB cracked down on the use of sticky foreign substances by pitchers in late June.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.