Ronel Blanco has become baseball’s first unlikely hero of the 2024 season.

The 30-year-old Houston Astros pitcher tossed the first no-hitter of the young campaign Monday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, which marked the 17th no-no in franchise history.

The accomplishment came in just the eighth start of his career.

“It’s all very good,” Blanco said after the game. “Obviously thanking God for this blessing, and I dedicate this game to God and my daughter.”

Blanco struck out seven Blue Jay batters and issued just two walks in the outing to help Houston earn its first win of the season.

The performance is even more incredible when considering that Blanco only made the big league club out of spring training when injuries across the pitching staff opened up a spot for him.

“This was always his dream, to be a ballplayer,” Blanco’s mother Maria told Our Esquina of her son. “I would tell him, ‘God willing, you will achieve it.’ Behind God, I’m very proud to be the mother of Ronel Blanco.”

Ronel Blanco’s path to the MLB

Blanco took a rather unconventional path to MLB.

The Dominican Republic native signed with the Astros as an international free agent at 22 years old — much older than typical international prospects — and for a mere $5,000 signing bonus. Blanco toiled in the minor leagues for six seasons before finally reaching the majors in 2022.

Achieving his baseball dreams would have never been possible without his mother, who worked 18-hour days as a single mother to support her children.

“The big thing was that God was preparing him for where he is now,” Maria told Our Esquina. “The only thing I would tell him was Para ‘delante (forward). That triumph is with you, God willing.’”

Blanco wasn’t the only Astro fueled by faith Monday night. His catcher, Yainer Diaz, combatted fear behind the plate by trusting God to deliver him and his pitcher to the finish line.

“I was very nervous and anxious the whole time,” Diaz said through an interpreter. “When we got to the last moment, I took a breather and put it all in God’s hands that if I called the correct pitches we talked about and he executed, it wasn’t going to be an issue.”