Paul Skenes pulled after seven hitless innings — and Pirates promptly blow no-hitter

Paul Skenes pulled after seven hitless innings — and Pirates promptly blow no-hitter

Paul Skenes’ remarkable first half continued its ho-hum churn on Thursday.

The rookie sensation tossed seven no-hit innings in Milwaukee, tying a career high with 11 strikeouts and walking only one batter on only 99 pitches, 65 of which were strikes.

In relief of Skenes, Pirates righty Colin Holderman lost the team’s no-hitter two pitches into the eighth, giving up a single to Jake Bauers.

But Pittsburgh held on for a 1-0 win, with ex-Yankee Aroldis Chapman earning his fourth save of the year.

Skenes was again magnificent on Thursday against an NL Central rival. AP

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As a result of the gem, Skenes (6-0) lowered his ERA to a microscopic 1.90 — tied for the lowest by a rookie starter through 66 or more innings of the same calendar season.

Skenes’ success isn’t just historically good: he’s also proving to be one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Albeit in a limited sample size, last year’s No. 1 overall pick already ranks second among qualifying starters in ERA, second in strikeouts per nine innings and fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Skenes has collected two deep no-hit bids in only 11 career starts. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Although Skenes didn’t make his MLB debut until May 11, he had already accumulated 2.6 wins above replacement entering Thursday, being named an All-Star and leapfrogging the competition to become the frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year.

Despite Skenes’ dominance, the Pirates have gone just 28-26 since his callup, sitting 45-48 overall and still 2 ½ games back of the final NL wild-card spot.

Since Skenes arrived, Pittsburgh jumped from 10th to second in starting pitching ERA, with Skenes joining fellow rookie star Jared Jones and veteran standout Mitch Keller.

Thursday afternoon wasn’t the first time Skenes flirted with history, either.

Skenes went from National Pitcher of the Year and national champion to MLB All-Star in a year. Getty Images

In his second career start at Wrigley Field, the 22-year-old twirled six no-hit innings against the Cubs, also collecting 11 strikeouts.

Already ranking as one of the better pitchers in all of baseball, the next accomplishment for Skenes could be starting Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas.

With Cy Young contender Chris Sale scheduled to pitch on Sunday, Skenes could become the first rookie pitcher to start the Midsummer Classic since Hideo Nomo in 1995.