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Peacock takes no-hit bid into eighth
One night after perfect game, Syracuse nearly returns the favor
07/27/2011 11:40 PM ET
Brad Peacock has struck out 15 batters over 16 1/3 Triple-A innings.
Brad Peacock has struck out 15 batters over 16 1/3 Triple-A innings. (Shane Matteson)
Nationals prospect Brad Peacock nearly gave the Clippers a taste of their own medicine Wednesday.

Peacock pitched seven no-hit innings before allowing a leadoff double in the eighth inning as Triple-A Syracuse one-hit Columbus, 2-0.

One night after witnessing Clippers starter Justin Germano's perfect game, Peacock was almost as good. He fanned seven, walked four and retired seven in a row leading up to Beau Mills' double. Mills was the first runner to reach second against Peacock all night.

"I just left a change-up up. He hit it well to center and it fell in," Peacock said. "My center fielder Corey Brown busted his butt after it and I thought he might have a chance at it."

The 23-year-old right-hander threw 69 of his 109 pitches for strikes and exited after allowing the lone hit.

"Early on nothing [was working]," Peacock said with a laugh. "Later, on the fastball, I was getting ahead of the guys. My curveball got better as the game went on."

After witnessing only the fourth perfect game in International League history Tuesday, Syracuse fans nearly witnessed something even rarer. Had Peacock (2-1) completed his no-hit bid, it would have been the first time since Aug. 11, 1953 that the league had no-hitters on back-to-back days. Peacock said the subject came up in the dugout later.

"After I gave up a hit, they started talking about it, but before that they didn't say a word."

A former 41st-round pick by Washington, Peacock has enjoyed a whirlwind year that has him behind only Bryce Harper on MLB.com's Top 10 Nationals prospects list. The Florida native struck out one in a perfect inning of relief at the Futures Game earlier this month, and he is 12-3 with a 2.35 ERA between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

"It has been a great experience," said Peacock, who is fourth in the Minors with 144 strikeouts. "I was struggling in my career a little bit, and it's great to have a great season after all the hard work."

Last season Peacock was 6-11 with a 4.50 ERA in 26 outings between Class A Advanced Potomac and Harrisburg, and batters hit .259 against him in 142 innings. He was unsure what exactly the difference has been this season, though he had an idea.

"To tell the truth, I don't know," he said. "I feel like I'm doing the same thing I did last year. Last year I'd get through four, then I'd give up a five-spot. This year, I'm not letting it happen."

Peacock felt the important lesson to take away from the latest start was about taking his time on the mound.

"Just slow down," he said. "I've been rushing to the plate and I don't know if it's nerves or what. My catcher Carlos Maldonado came out in the fourth and said 'slow it down' and I was fine after that."

Collin Balester took over for Peacock and struck out two while walking the bases loaded before giving way to Josh Wilkie, who got Cord Phelps to ground out to end the eighth. Wilkie pitched a perfect ninth to record his ninth save for the Chiefs.

Tug Hulett hit an RBI triple and Michael Aubrey was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

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.
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