Edinson Volquez had some motivation to pitch well Saturday way before he spent nine innings denying the Diamondbacks a hit.
Volquez began the day reflecting on memories of his former teammate Yordano Ventura, who was killed in a car accident this past January.
He posted a picture with Ventura, whose 26th birthday would have been Saturday, along with then-Kansas City Royals’ teammate Johnny Cueto, on his Instagram page stating in the post how much he missed the player he once called "little bro" and wishing him a Happy Birthday.
Then Volquez went out and made history by throwing the sixth no-hitter in Marlins’ history.
"It means a lot because I was pretty close to him," Volquez said after the game. "We were in Kansas City for two years, and, you know, he passed away last year. So to do something like I did today, it was something really special for me to dedicate the game to him."
Volquez dedicated his performance to both Ventura and the late Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez.
"They’re watching right now what happened today and I think they’re really happy right now," Volquez said during a postgame interview on Fox Sports.
Volquez, 33, and Ventura became as close as brothers during his two seasons in Kansas City.
Their lockers in the Royals’ clubhouse were located next to each other allowing Volquez to quickly become a mentor for the young fellow Dominican pitcher.
"After the seventh, I was like, ‘Now you’ve got to do it,’" Volquez said. "You’ve got to go for it. It’s a special day for you and the Ventura family.’"
Volquez has endured his own share of personal tragedy over the past two years.
In October 2015, Volquez started Game 1 of the World Series for the Royals and did not find out until after he came out of the game that his father, Danio, had passed away from heart failure that same night.
A couple of months after signing with the Marlins earlier this year, his brother, 25-year old Brandy Volquez, was killed in Santo Domingo.
And this season started as a struggle for Volquez, the Marlins’ Opening Day starter who lost his first seven decisions matching a club record, and endured a brief stint on the disabled list with a thumb blister. Since that 0-7 start, Volquez has won two in a row including Saturday’s historic effort.
By finishing the game, Volquez also broke a major-league record streak of 480 consecutive games for the Marlins without a starting pitcher going the distance – a stretch that coincidentally began exactly three years prior following Alvarez’s complete game June 3, 2014.
"It’s one of those days where you don’t even know if it will happen again," Volquez said. "That’s when you know you’ve got a no-hitter."
Volquez never got to play on the same team as Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident last September a little over two months before Volquez signed a two-year deal to pitch for the Marlins.
"Ventura and Jose, you know, Jose was here for four years, five years I think, and everybody loved Jose," Volquez said. "So I can say that was for him too. I really appreciate what he did here, and a lot of people love him, and I’m really blessed to throw a no-hitter in [the] Marlins ballpark."
Miami Herald Writer Ethan Bauer contributed to this report.
Marlins teammates on Edinson Volquez’s no-hitter
“As happy as I was for [Volquez], kinda the catcher bias in me was so thrilled for J.T. [Realmuto] and him getting to experience that. Just to have that now on his résumé is something that no one will ever take away from him. I was blessed to be able to catch one in my career, and now he’s got his. And with the way he’s gonna play and how long his career is gonna be, it’ll be the first of a long list is what I’m thinking. So he did a great job behind the plate working [Volquez], especially as the game got going. And he really recognized what pitches were working, what sequences were working, and you could see that in the ninth inning with how devastating the changeup was. We talked [Saturday] after the game about how he relied heavily on that changeup as he finished the game off. And for him to have the confidence to keep going to it and reading the swings, that was a great partnership between the two of them [Saturday]. So I was thrilled for them both.” — Backup catcher A.J. Ellis
“Unbelievable, man. I’ve been blessed to have seen three of them, and that was one of the cooler ones. [Volquez] was just awesome. Just the emotions that happened … with the Royals organization and his birthday and stuff, it was just really cool to see that. He couldn’t be a better teammate either.” — Backup first baseman Tyler Moore
“That was special. It was funny, I went to him after the first inning or early in the second. He covered first base and I was like, ‘Hey [Volquez], what do ya got buddy? How’re you feeling?’ He’s like, ‘Oh, my ankle’s killing me.’ And I’m like, ‘You’ve gotta give us five strong innings today.’ And he’s like, ‘I’ll give you five strong.’ And so right after, I was like, ‘You have us nine! Not five! Nine!’ So I was pumped up. To be a part of a no-hitter is special. Everybody enjoyed that. That was an awesome game to be a part of.” — Third baseman Derek Dietrich
“Yeah, all the plays were. Dee [Gordon] made a great play. [Justin Bour] had that swipe tag. So there were plays all over the board. That was just a nice clean game, and [Volquez], that’s what he’s capable of. He’s a professional. A solid veteran. I mean, he wasn’t stressing when he didn’t have a win two months into the season or whatever it was. But he’s the same guy every single day. … You know what you’re gonna get from him. That’s the capability that he has. He can go out there and — how many years in? Almost 10 years in, or whatever it is, maybe more, and to throw a no-hitter with the stuff he has. He’s just a great guy to have on our team, in our clubhouse and on the mound.” — Dietrich, on the big double play in the eighth inning
“It’s awesome. It’s essentially what we chase every single time we go out there to the mound.” — Pitcher Dan Straily
“That was a special day. A special moment. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy, too. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. So we’re all happy for him and, hopefully, that keeps a positive vibe going throughout the season.” — First baseman Justin Bour