For Rays, Jackson's no-no bittersweet
Right-hander played for Tampa Bay from 2006 to 2008
ST. PETERSBURG -- After Edwin Jackson recorded the final out of his no-hitter on Friday night, a 1-0 win for his D-backs, James Shields stood on the top step of the Rays' dugout along with pitching coach Jim Hickey and first-base coach George Hendrick.
"[We] were standing out there until he saw us," Shields said. "I know the guy personally, so for me it was really cool to see. I was standing on the top step. I was applauding him with everybody else."
Jackson played for the Rays from 2006 through 2008 before being traded to Detroit for outfielder Matt Joyce. Everybody in the Rays' clubhouse liked the hard-throwing right-hander, so his performance was a bittersweet pill to swallow.
"Obviously, we wanted to win," B.J. Upton said. "I think a lot of the guys over here [feel that] if anybody's going to do it, you like to see him do it. He was a big part of our success over here. [He's a] great guy, great guy in the clubhouse."
Shields noted that Jackson was one of his "best buddies" before saying, "I'm so happy for him. Walking [eight] guys, throwing  pitches, that's pretty impressive to me, man. I can't tell you enough how happy I am for him. It was just amazing to watch him."
When Jackson pitched for the Rays, the other pitchers on the staff always marveled at his strength and resiliency.
"He'll probably tell you he can throw tomorrow, he's pretty fresh," said Shields with a smile. "I was just talking to Hickey -- we were wondering if he's going to ice tonight, because he never ices. And my answer was no, he'll probably throw out of the bullpen tomorrow."
Shields found the kind of no-hitter Jackson threw befitting the right-hander.
"He's a battler," Shields said. "He's been through so much adversity his whole career, going from team to team and not really finding a spot. And having Arizona have some faith in him, [signing him to] a two-year deal, it's just ... I'm really happy for him."
Carlos Pena called Jackson's performance "truly impressive."
"He showed a lot of heart," Pena said. "Obviously, we all know he's got that by being his teammate. We remember. We're very aware of that. But to go and throw 150 pitches almost, that's absolutely very impressive on his part. He did a great job. He ran into tough times, he ran into trouble, and yet he just kept on battling and was able to get out of [it]."
Pena called Jackson an "unbelievable" teammate.
"Obviously, everyone here was very saddened when we saw him leave, including himself," Pena said. "So it's well deserved. He's one of those guys you always pull for, but obviously, you don't want him to do this against us. So hats off to Edwin, he did an unbelievable job today."
Upton said that because of the number of baserunners the Rays had, he and many of his teammates did not realize Jackson had a no-hitter going "until about the seventh."
"We had some good ABs ... and the balls we did hit hard were right at them, so we can't hang our heads," Upton said. "I think we played well, stayed in the game, had some good ABs, look forward to tomorrow."
Upton hit one of the harder balls of the night when he grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the third.
"That's just kind of the way it's been going lately," he said. "You can't guide it, you can only hit it. And they made some plays for him, so you tip your cap to him."
Jeff Niemann, who took the loss for the Rays, made his feelings about Jackson's no-hitter clear.
"It's not fun. It's not enjoyable at all to see," Niemann said. "It shouldn't have happened. ... It's great for him, it's a great personal accomplishment. But for us it stinks. It's not fun. I don't want to see anyone do that against us. I don't care if he played here. If he was my best friend, I don't want to see that, and I don't think anyone else does either."
Ironically, Joyce -- who has been recovering from a strain in his right elbow -- was in the lineup on Friday, making his first appearance of the season, and he got to face the guy the Rays traded to get him.
"You know, that's the first time I've seen him," Joyce said. "He just seemed to make good pitches, and even when he did make a mistake, it seemed like we missed them. That combined to get the end result. It was just his night."
Manager Joe Maddon seemed to sum up the feeling in the clubhouse.
"He's a horse and a great athlete," Maddon said. "He's a great kid and he deserved to do that tonight. Hat's off to him, he's a wonderful man."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.