Dave Bush remained alone, sitting down the clubhouse hall in an equipment room, where players can grab cool drinks between innings.
The quiet righty never watches his teammates hit while he's pitching. He can't see the field and can't hear the chatter, but he knew the circumstances.
Bush took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning before it was broken up by the player he was traded for, and the Milwaukee Brewers barely off the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 Thursday.
"I always know. I always know if I've had guys on base and given up hits," Bush said. "I would say it's probably after the sixth that I actually start thinking about it. The game starting to wind down, and you kind of see what happens."
Lyle Overbay opened the eighth by slicing a triple just beyond the reach of diving left-fielder Ryan Braun. Bush (3-7) was dealt to the Brewers in 2005 for Overbay, but said he'd never seen him play before this series.
"Somebody had to do it," said Overbay, who was a fan favourite during his two seasons in Milwaukee. "That's the last thing you want to do, is get no hit. Somebody was going to do it. We were hitting it. He was doing a good job, but somebody was bound to get on base."
Joe Inglett hit a two-out grand slam that highlighted the Blue Jays' six-run rally in the ninth. After giving up an infield hit, Salomon Torres struck out Fredericton native Matt Stairs for his 10th save to complete the Brewers' sweep.
"It wasn't nerve-racking at all," Brewers manager Ned Yost said before breaking out a dishonest smile. "I got a little nervous ... but I knew I had Torres out there and we would be in pretty good shape."
Russell Branyan hit his third homer in three days, a three-run shot, and Prince Fielder had the second inside-the-park homer of his career as the Brewers built an 8-0 lead. But those drives quickly became overshadowed by Bush's attempt at history and the bullpen's battles.
Hit hard in his last two outings, Bush began the afternoon with a team-high 5.73 ERA. Off to the worst start in his five-year career that included a trip to triple-A Nashville, he retired the first 15 Blue Jays before walking Gregg Zaun to open the sixth.
But the Blue Jays, losers of 12 of 16 entering Thursday's game, couldn't figure out Bush's changing speeds as the righty maintained the intense demeanour on and off the mound that he carries around the clubhouse.
"I just sit by myself. It helps me stay focused," said Bush, who returned to the rotation on May 7 when Yovani Gallardo tore a knee ligament. "It's my way of trying to keep myself focused and not get caught up in the rest of the game."
In the seventh, Bush needed a pair of plays by centre-fielder Gabe Kapler to keep his no-hit bid intact. First, Kapler ranged to short left on a high pop fly by Stairs, then he made a running effort at the warning track to corral Scott Rolen's deep drive.
"You start thinking, 'Geez, maybe,"' Yost said. "They've got a guy sitting behind the ball boy that authenticates every game ball that comes out. I think, 'Why are they doing that?' About the eighth inning, I started to figure out why. If this happens, you've got authenticated balls."
In the eighth, Overbay hit Bush's second pitch to shallow left field and Braun came up just short. Bush backed off the mound as he watched the ball fall safely and popped his right hand into his mitt as the crowd gave him an ovation.
"I knew if Braun was going to make the catch, it was going to be an outstanding play," Bush said. "Braun made a good effort for it. After that, I tried to get three more outs. I lobbied to go back out in the ninth, but Ned said I'd had enough for the day."
Bush, who played two seasons in Toronto, was traded in December 2005 with Gabe Gross and Zach Jackson for Overbay and Ty Taubenheim in the deal that cleared the way for Fielder to take over as the every day first baseman.
After Overbay reached, Alex Rios followed with a single. Bush hit a batter before striking out pinch-hitter Brad Wilkerson to end his day.
Bush gave up two hits, struck out two and walked one.
Still, the Brewers' bullpen almost blew it. Reliever Tim Dillard allowed a two-out, two-run homer to Overbay in the ninth that made it 8-3.
Rios then singled and Zaun walked, bringing David Riske from the bullpen. A walk loaded the bases and Inglett hit his slam to pull Toronto within 8-7.
Torres relieved and pinch-hitter Rod Barajas hustled to beat out an infield hit. Stairs fanned for the final out.
Branyan has hit 10 homers in his first 61 at-bats since being called up May 25 - he has only 19 total hits, more than half of them home runs. His shot in the third inning gave Milwaukee a 6-0 lead off A.J. Burnett (6-7).
Fielder added some dramatics in the fifth with his inside-the-park homer. He hit a roller that got stopped by the padding underneath the wall in right field. The ball could clearly be seen, but Rios put his hands up as if he couldn't find it.
"I thought the umpire was going to make a call and he never made a call so I grabbed it and threw it. He took forever," Rios said.
Fielder slowed as he rounded second but then took off again, chugging home well before Rios finally grabbed the ball and threw it back to the infield much too late. It was Fielder's first inside-the-park homer since a ball hit off a speaker in the Metrodome on June 17, 2007.
"One started a rally, and that one gave us a win," Fielder said. "That one might have been better just because it was a lot easier."
Notes: Bush went 7 1-3 innings without a hit in his third career start against Oakland on July 20, 2004. Toronto lost 1-0 in 14 innings in that game. ... Juan Nieves pitched the only no-hitter in Brewers' history, 7-0 against Baltimore on April 15, 1987. ... Burnett, who left after giving up eight runs over five innings, faced his locker for 28 minutes after the game before speaking to reporters. He said he had not felt good on the mound his past three starts and has gone 1-2 with an 11.30 ERA.
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