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Rattlers fall one out short of no-hitter
Former first-round pick Odorizzi fans eight in five innings
04/17/2010 12:00 AM ET
Jake Odorizzi was a first-round pick by Milwaukee in 2008.
Jake Odorizzi was a first-round pick by Milwaukee in 2008. (Chris Proctor/Four Seam Images)
When Jake Odorizzi walked back into the dugout for the eighth inning Friday night, he glanced at the scoreboard at Burlington's Community Field and kept his mouth shut.

"No one was talking about it, everyone was just acting normal, trying to play it off," said Odorizzi. "But in the ninth inning, everyone stood up and got on the dugout railing."

Odorizzi and his Wisconsin teammates looked on for two quick outs before Bees center fielder Hilton Richardson lined a double to left field, breaking up the Timber Rattlers' no-hit bid.

"We were close enough to get one though," Odorizzi said.

Odorizzi pitched five innings before reliever Damon Krestalude finished up as Wisconsin blanked Burlington, 9-0.

One of the Brewers' first-round picks in the 2008 Draft, Odorizzi struck out eight and walked one in his second outing since earning a promotion this spring to the Midwest League. After Richardson doubled, Krestalude popped up Deivy Batista to end the game, sealing the one-hitter.

"I was pretty relaxed, I was just chilling in the clubhouse, hanging out," said Odorizzi, who rejoined his teammates after getting in some extra work in the locker room. "It's nice to see our hard work pay off."

Odorizzi, who threw a no-hitter in high school, said Friday's game had a much different atmosphere.

"This was a lot more cool, being in pro ball, it was definitely exciting," he said. "Everyone was pumped."

It would have been Wisconsin's first no-hitter since Derrick Van Dusen tossed one on Aug. 27, 2001 against Cedar Rapids.

Odorizzi, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, was selected out of Highland (Ill.) High School as the 32nd overall selection -- the Brewers drafted shortstop Brett Lawrie at No. 16. After committing to Louisville, Odorizzi eventually made his Minor League debut in 2009 with Rookie-level Helena in the Pioneer League, going 1-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 12 outings, including 10 starts.

The 20-year-old, who features a four-seam fastball in the low-90s as well as a two-seamer, slider and a good curveball, made his Class A debut on Sunday, holding Clinton to one hit over three innings for his first save.

On Friday, Odorizzi struck out the first two batters he faced and set down 11 in a row before hitting Will Myers in the fourth. He retired Rene Oriental to end the frame, and his only other bump came an inning later when he walked Carlos Testa with one out. Testa was thrown out stealing before Odorizzi fanned Gerard Hall to end his evening.

"I felt really good, it felt natural," he said. "Just out there working, it was really nice. And it's pretty easy to pitch with a big cushion -- maybe not easy, but it's easy to pitch with those factors."

The former first-rounder said he knew he had a no-hitter going when he was pulled after five.

"I knew it was in the back of my head, but I just had to let it ride out," he said. "They told me I was done after five. I was a little fired up, but after a couple minutes I was good to go."

Odorizzi, who faced many of the same batters last year at Helena, said he's hoping to add some secondary weapons to his arsenal. He broke out a new changeup Friday but used it only once.

"I threw my four-seamer, curve and slider. And one changeup," he said. "We try to get changeups in there early in the count, now that we're getting up to a higher level."

Krestalude, taken out of Port St. Lucie (Fla.) High School in the 17th round of the 2008 Draft, came on to begin the sixth and cruised through three innings, striking out three. He retired Fernando Cruz and Jose Bonilla to begin the ninth.

The 20-year-old split the 2009 season between Helena, where he was Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week on June 29, and Class A Advanced Brevard County.

Krestalude and Odorizzi will get more chances at history -- they are tandem starters and will alternate starting and relieving to begin the season.

"I came back out in the eighth and saw we had no hits," Odorizzi said. "[Krestalude] pitched real well, he changed speeds. I thought we were going to get it."

Falling one out short, the code of silence ended in the dugout.

"We laughed about it, we tried to blame it on people, tried to pin it someone who moved," Odorizzi joked. "It was all kinda relaxed. We knew it was a great performance."

Odorizzi and Krestalude had plenty of support after Peter Fatse put the Timber Rattlers ahead with a two-run single in the third inning. Fatse homered in the fifth and finished with five RBIs.

The season continues to be a memorable one for Odorizzi, who helped build a snowman with his teammates after a storm postponed Wisconsin's home opener last week. An Illinois native, the right-hander is living with teammates in an apartment and couldn't be happier.

"I'm close to home, so it's nice to be back in the midwest again," he said. "[Tonight] was a good confidence-booster, but you've got to put it aside now and get a game plan for the next team.

"It's kind of hard to compare an outing like this, but you've kind of got to live in the moment and forget it tomorrow."

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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