Simon Castro pitched 6 2/3 hitless innings and Fort Wayne extended the no-hitter into the eighth Wednesday before settling for a 3-1 victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks in Game 1 of their Midwest League first-round series.
Less than a month after pitching the first no-hitter in franchise history, Castro walked three and struck out five. He issued back-to-back free passes with two outs in the seventh and was replaced after throwing 85 pitches by Nick Schumaker, who hit Rossmel Perez to load the bases before fanning Clayton Connor.
Zach Herr came on in the eighth and got two quick outs before walking first-round pick A.J. Pollock. After a wild pitch, Reynaldo Navarro spoiled the no-hit bid and shutout with a single to center field. Alfredo Marte followed with another base hit to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Herr struck out Ryan Wheeler.
"You may have heard a sigh [in the dugout], but you want to win the game," TinCaps pitching coach Tom Bradley said. "It's the playoffs and you're trying to win games."
Brad Brach fanned two in a perfect ninth for the save. The former 42nd-round pick posted a 1.27 ERA and a league-leading 33 saves during the regular season.
Castro twice was named Pitcher of the Week last month, once after striking out nine and no-hitting Dayton in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 18. The 21-year old right-hander went 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA and a league-leading 157 strikeouts in 28 games, including 27 starts.
"He's come a long way from '07 to this point," said Bradley, who worked with Castro two years ago. "He's around the strike zone more, throwing quality strikes. He's got a plus fastball, a plus curveball and his changeup has improved a lot. He has a bright future ahead of him."
The TinCaps, who won a franchise-record and Minor League-best 94 games during the season, staked Castro to a quick lead as Blake Tekotte led off the game with a walk and later scored on a double play. Castro made the lead stand until the eighth, when Jaff Decker came home on a throwing error and Yefri Carvajal lined an RBI single.
Robert Emrich 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.