- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Josh Beckett transformed himself from power pitcher to deceptive hurler after a winless, injury-plagued season ended with surgery.

He still dominates, but in a different way.

Beckett pitched the first no-hitter of his stellar career and the first in the majors this season, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 Sunday.

“You don’t think at this point of your career that you’re going to do that,” Beckett said.

Certainly not after a miserable 2013.

Beckett was nearly derailed by a nerve condition that left him unable to feel his fingertips. He even had to learn to hold the steering wheel with his left hand because he couldn’t feel his right hand.

Now he’s healthy and pitching like a guy with three All-Star games, two World Series rings and a World Series MVP award on his resume.

On this day, he was downright nasty.

“For him to be able to do that is nice,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Just for everything that he’s been through with us, the surgery last year, he just seemed to change himself as a pitcher and is using the breaking ball more.”

Beckett stuck out six, walked three and didn’t come close to allowing a hit against a lineup that included two former NL MVPs and four former All-Stars. The 34-year-old right-hander threw 128 pitches. He fanned five-time All-Star Chase Utley on a called strike three to end the game.

Figuring Utley wasn’t expecting a fastball with a no-hitter on the line, Beckett fired a 94 mph heater right down the middle.

“I was trying to think along with him,” Beckett said.

Beckett mixed a sharp fastball with a slow curve that kept hitters off-balance while retiring 23 straight batters in one stretch. He pitched the Dodgers‘ first no-hitter since Hideo Nomo beat Colorado at Coors Field in 1996, and the 21st in franchise history. Sandy Koufax threw four.

“I knew he had something special going early,” catcher Drew Butera said. “I was a nervous wreck from the fourth inning on when he said he had never taken one this far. He’s a guy who is going to keep it loose and he didn’t want anybody to be thinking about it.”

Beckett pitched the first no-hitter in the majors since Miami’s Henderson Alvarez did it against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 season.

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