"Usually, guys joke around with me or give me a hard time. Tonight, nobody said a word," Dean said.
That's because the Twins prospect was pitching a no-hitter. He took the effort into the seventh inning, but it was not enough as the Class A Advanced Fort Myers Miracle fell to the Clearwater Threshers, 4-3.
Dean ended up allowing two runs on four hits over 6 2/3 frames, his second quality start in the past 10 games.
"I'm very happy with it," said Dean, who struck out four and walked two. "I've been kind of struggling a little bit and had my ups and downs recently. I'm happy to go out there and give the team an opportunity to win. That's what the main focus was."
The 23-year-old left-hander allowed a pair of baserunners through six innings. Rehabbing Phillies outfielder Laynce Nix walked with two outs in the first, then drew another free pass with one out in the fourth.
"I was doing a good job of locating everything for the most part," Dean said. "I was throwing sliders in 3-2 counts, which helped a lot. I was trying to keep them off-balance with the changeup and was able to locate my fastball. I wanted to get them to hit my pitch."
Things unraveled a bit in the seventh, however. After striking out Nix to start the frame, Dean surrendered three straight singles. The Threshers plated both of their runs against him on Drew Hillman's groundout and a base hit by Harold Martinez.
"I was actually feeling pretty confident in the seventh inning after I got Nix out," Dean said of the no-hit bid. "The very next pitch was the first single, so I kind of got a little overconfident, I guess."
Fort Myers regained the lead in the top of the eighth, but the Miracle were done in in the bottom half by Nix, who smacked a two-run homer to put the Threshers ahead for good.
Selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game, Dean has a 3.94 ERA and 52 strikeouts over 107 1/3 innings. His numbers are much improved from last season, when he compiled a 6.67 ERA in 11 starts for Fort Myers.
Dean acknowledged he is "not a power pitcher by any means." To continue his development, the 2010 third-round pick has to keep refining his command.
"I think the biggest thing for me to keep moving forward is to continue to focus on locating pitches a little bit better," Dean said. "Tonight, I did a pretty decent job, but I need to be more consistent with it. Being able to locate balls in the lower part of the zone and being able to throw off-speed in any count. ... Just be able to throw off-speed if I need to and be able to make it a quality pitch as opposed to a get-me-over pitch."