In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Charlie Lea of the Montreal Expos tosses the first No-Hitter of the 1981 season, blanking the San Francisco Giants 4-0 at Olympic Stadium. It is the third No-Hitter in Expos history and the second No-Hitter thrown in Canada. It was the second game of a doubleheader; the Giants took the opener 5-1. Charlie Lea was the first pitcher born in France to throw a No-Hitter in the majors. The Expos scored four runs in the seventh against Ed Whitson, breaking open a scoreless pitchers' duel.
The Montreal Expos hosted the San Francisco Giants in a Monther's Day doubleheader at Olympic Stadium. After battling for the NL East in the previous two seasons, the Expos were off to a good start in 1981, sitting at 16-9 for manager Dick Williams. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants were hovering near .500 at 14-16 for Frank Robinson. He was the first black manager in the National League after being hired to replace Dave Bristol after the 1980 season. The Giants won the first game of the doubleheader 5-1 and looked to get back to .500 with a win in the nightcap.
Charlie Lea was born on an American Army base in Orleans, France, on Christmas Day in 1956. He had made his debut with Montreal in 1980 and became a fan favorite. Lea was looking for his first win of the season as he was opposed by Eddie Whitson, who entered the game after losing his first three decisions in 1981.
The Expos had a chance to score early but left the bases loaded in the second inning. Charlie Lea retired the first nine batters he faced before Bill North walked in the fourth. North was caught stealing by Gary Carter, as Lea faced the minimum through seven innings.
The game was scoreless until Tim Wallach led off the seventh with a home run. Montreal would add three more runs with back-to-back doubles by Rodney Scott and Andre Dawson. The first double scored two runs with Rowland Office and Tim Raines coming into score with two outs.
Now leading 4-0, Charlie Lea walked the first two batters in the eighth but got Milt May to hit into a double play. After a walk to Dave Bergman, Lea got Mike Phillips to fly out, keeping the No-Hitter in tack. Charlie Lea would complete the No-Hitter as Enos Cabell flew out to Andre Dawson in centerfield to end the game.
It was the third No-Hitter in Expos' history, with Bill Stoneham tossing the first two, including a 1972 No-Nitter at Jarry Parc, the first No-Hitter thrown in Canada. Lea finished the game with eight strikeout and four walks.