Audio: Smith gets a big double play
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TRENTON, N.J. -- It wasn't pretty and it didn't take long, but Brett Smith will take a no-hitter any way he can get one.
Smith labored through five rain-soaked innings Wednesday and pitched the first complete-game no-hitter at Mercer County Waterfront Park as the Trenton Thunder crushed the Altoona Curve, 10-0.
Smith (7-4) is no stranger to no-hit bids after firing seven hitless frames on April 21 against the Binghamton Mets. But given the circumstances, this game was far from ordinary. While he did not allow a hit, he issued a career-high seven walks, thanks in no small part to the wet conditions.
"I had a lot going on through my mind," Smith said. "It's hard enough pitching when you realize you have a no-hitter going on, but tonight I was fighting six different things at once. I'm just glad I at least didn't walk the first batter of the game, though."
"These were some tough, tough conditions," Trenton manager Tony Franklin added. "Brett looked uncomfortable and was in a bad rhythm, but he did a good job battling the elements."
After waiting out an hour-long rain delay before the game, Smith struck out leadoff batter Matt Meath before issuing a pair of walks. He escaped the jam by coaxing a pair of groundouts.
The Cal-Irvine product breezed through the second and fourth innings but walked two in the third and three more in the fifth. At one point, he threw 10 straight pitches out of the strike zone.
"At that point, I was about ready to throw the ball underhanded," Smith said, "anything to get a strike. It was a combination of both the ball being wet and not having good footing."
Franklin had right-hander Gerardo Casadiego warming in the bullpen after Smith walked Meath to load the bases in the fifth. But the Yankees' 2004 second-round draft pick got Jason Bowers to hit a chopper to shortstop Alberto Gonzalez, who started an inning-ending double play.
"That pitch was huge," Franklin said. "For a moment, I was worried that he might not make it out of the game. He racked up a lot of pitches, but I really wanted him to see him finish this inning and get the win."
Moments after the third out was recorded, the rain intensified and prompted the umpires to summon the tarp. After a delay, the game was called.
Smith said that while he wanted to go back out for another inning, he didn't feel too cheated over the early ending. He was just glad that his two biggest fans were there to watch.
"It is what it is," the California native said. "This isn't the way you'd think it would happen, but I'm just happy to get one in the first place. It was also great that I had my parents in town. My dad comes to a few games here and there, but my mom sees me pitch about only once a year and I haven't seen her since February, so I'm glad it worked out."
The Thunder (52-31) erupted for seven runs in the third, capitalizing on three Curve errors. Gonzalez and Aarom Baldiris delivered two-run doubles.
Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for Trenton, which got doubles from seven different players.
Meath and Bowers walked twice and were the only batters to reach base more than once for Altoona (42-40).
Starter Mike Crotta (0-1) lost his Double-A debut after giving up seven runs -- three earned -- on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Michael Echan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.