Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull throws no-hitter, gives 'all glory to God'

Covered in shaving cream after throwing the eighth no-hitter in Detroit Tigers history Tuesday night, Spencer Turnbull had one more thing he wanted to say before his postgame interview with the Bally Sports Detroit broadcast team wrapped up.

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“The only thing I have left to say is just all glory to God,” Turnbull said. “I really feel like His presence was in me all night.”

Just a few hours earlier, Turnbull was preparing to rely on mental toughness rather than his stuff to get through his start against the Seattle Mariners.

“Honestly, warming up in the bullpen, I felt horrible,” he revealed. “My mechanics were not clicking at all. I was like, ‘All right, this is gonna be a mentality day. We’re just gonna have to fake it until I make it today.'”

Turnbull decided during his warmup to be as positive as he could taking the mound and leave the result in God’s hands.

“I just said a quick little prayer and was just like, ‘All right, we’re gonna go for it,'” he said. “Whatever I’ve got today is what I’ve got.'”

The no-hitter was the first by a Tigers pitcher since Justin Verlander recorded the second of his career on May 7, 2011. Turnbull retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a walk to begin the fourth inning. Seattle’s only other baserunners came in the ninth, via another lead-off walk and a fielder’s choice.

The 28-year-old finished his historic evening by striking out Mitch Haniger.

Third baseman Jeimer Candelario provided the defensive play of the game, robbing Haniger in the seventh to keep the no-hit bid alive.

Remarkably, it was just the third time in Turnbull’s 50 major league starts he was credited with a win against an American League team. Two of those three wins have come in his last two starts.

After making his MLB debut in 2018, Turnbull became a full-time member of Detroit’s rotation in 2019 and led the majors in losses with 17. He went 4-4 in 2020 with a 3.97 ERA and has continued his improvement this season. The Demopolis, Alabama, native and former University of Alabama pitcher now owns a 3-2 record and 2.88 ERA through six starts in 2021.

“I’m really proud of him,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said after the game. “He’s worked really hard and he deserves every bit of tonight.”

Turnbull identifies himself as a “Believer in Jesus Christ” in his Twitter bio, which also includes Ephesians 3:19-20, a Bible verse which says: “And to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Turnbull’s Instagram bio includes Ephesians 3:20 as well, and both social media bios include the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria,” a Latin term meaning “glory to God alone.”

 

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Prior to Tuesday’s start, Turnbull had never gone more than seven innings in an MLB game. He threw a career-high 117 pitches and struck out nine batters. His next start is scheduled for Monday against Cleveland.

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