Diamondbacks right-hander Cody Evans didn't exactly coast through his first few months of the 2009 season. In fact, he'd struggled to a 2-5 record and 5.25 ERA with the Double-A Mobile BayBears.
However, that was before he took a perfect game into the seventh inning in Mobile's 7-3 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts at ATT&T Field on Wednesday.
Evans worked out of a tough spot late in the game and exited after seven shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out four without any walks.
"Everything was working for me [Wednesday]. I've been trying to take the same approach into each game. Actually, the last few times out, I've been happy with the way I've pitched, even though I obviously didn't get the results I wanted," Evans said.
"I've been doing the right things on the mound," he added. "I knew if I kept it up, hopefully the right results would come along."
Evans, who was picked by Arizona in the 10th round of the 2005 Draft, went 6-8 with a 4.32 ERA over 39 games -- five starts -- across three levels in the Diamondbacks system last year.
Facing the Lookouts for the first time this season, Evans mowed through the first 18 hitters he saw. He realized in the middle innings, he said, that this game was special.
"I had a real quick inning in the fifth, and then it sort of hit me. Going into the sixth, I noticed, 'Wow, there hasn't been anybody on base.' I tried not to think about it," he said. "It was always in the back of my mind, but I tried to just keep on pitching the way I'd been pitching in the first five innings."
Evans contributed offensively, too, plopping a two-out RBI single up the middle in the fourth to stake himself to a 3-0 lead -- a lead that would be extended to 4-0 by the end of the inning.
"It was a fastball," Evans said of the pitch he got. "That's pretty much the only thing I can hit. That felt good, even though it was just a little fister over second base. It's always great when you can help out that way, as a pitcher, even if it's not with the most style."
Although he had a lead, the warm Tennessee weather prevented the 25-year-old from ever feeling truly comfortable and relaxed on the mound.
"Since it was a day game, it was really hot," he said. "That makes you work more. It makes it a bit tougher out there."
Evans insisted, too, that his outing wasn't as easy as he made it look, and there were times when he was in danger of losing his stride.
"There are two [at-bats] that come to mind," he said.
Chattanooga's Justin Sellers, who fouled off four tough pitches before striking out in the third, gave Evans trouble again in the sixth. He took strike one and then watched Evans throw three straight balls, then fouled off a 3-1 pitch on the outside corner.
"When [Justin] Sellers had that count, that was close," said Evans. Sellers hit a dribbler to BayBears shortstop Pedro Ciriaco in the sixth pitch of the at-bat, though.
After inducing an infield fly ball from Tommy Giles, Evans faced another challenge. Adam Godwin was called in to pinch-hit for Lookouts reliever Paul Koss.
"Facing the pinch-hitter, Godwin," said Evans, "I had two strikes on him and I threw him a hanging curve. It stayed up a lot -- it was a real hanging curve. That could have been the end of the no-hitter. And the end of the shutout."
Godwin slapped an easy grounder to Ciriaco, and Mobile was out of the sixth.
Finally, Evans surrendered a leadoff hit to James Tomlin in the seventh.
"[Tomlin] battled me all day," Evans said. "I threw 80 pitches, and he saw 25 of them. He had a 10-pitch at-bat against me [in the first] and then a nine-pitch at-bat [in the fourth]. I threw him a good fastball on the outside of the plate, but he went with it and took me the other way."
The ball bounded through the outfield, and by the time Chris Rahl retrieved it and sent it back to the infield, Tomlin was safely into third.
Two pitches after Tomlin's triple, though, it was as though he'd never reached base. Victor Mercedes lofted a fly ball into shallow center field, and Mobile's Evan Frey fired the ball home to beat Tomlin, who collided with catcher James Skelton. Skelton held onto the ball, but it was a scary moment for Evans.
"I thought he was going to slide and be safe. But then he didn't slide, and there was that collision, and he was out," said Evans. "That felt great. I sort of went from the lowest of the low -- giving up a no-hitter and then thinking I blew the shutout -- to having two outs with the shutout still going."
He then struck out Josh Bell on a wild pitch, and Bell was able to reach first.
"I had him 0-2 on two changeups, and then I threw one in the dirt [on purpose]," Evans said. "I don't know how it was scored, but I threw the ball in the dirt to get him to swing."
Andrew Lambo popped out to right field on an 0-1 pitch to end the inning, and the Baybears pinch-hit for Evans in the top of the eighth.
"Of course I would have liked to finish the game," he said, "but I have no complaints about coming away with an outing like that, seven shutout innings, one hit."
Evans said his teammates and coaches offered a variety of congratulations, but one particular bit of praise stood out.
"One of the guys on the other team, [Mike] Rose, the catcher, told me I did a good job. That felt really nice."
Josh Jackson 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.