They say in show business, you always want to leave them wanting more. Zack Wheeler did that Thursday, but will likely have a new audience by next week -- a big league audience.
The Mets' top pitching prospect gave up one run on one hit and struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings as Triple-A Las Vegas lost to Tacoma, 11-0.
Wheeler, who retired the first 10 batters of the game, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Carlos Peguero slugged a solo homer with one out. The 23-year-old right-hander walked two and faced two over the minimum for the 51s.
Much of the focus on Wheeler this season has been more about when Mets fans could expect to see him in Citi Field, not about how he's pitched in the Pacific Coast League. And it looks like the Georgia native will be promoted and start for the big league club June 18 in Atlanta.
"You hear stuff," Wheeler told reporters in Las Vegas, referencing rumors of his imminent promotion. "You can get excited. There's nothing wrong with that."
With all the buzz surrounding Wheeler, expectations are flying high among fans. Last summer, it was all about Matt Harvey, whose debut for the Mets on July 26, 2012 lived up to its billing when he fanned 11 in 5 1/3 innings against Arizona. Manager Terry Collins has done his best to keep things in perspective, though.
"Everybody's excited because he's a prospect, and you look down the road with that arm and that stuff and he could be a good pitcher for a long time," Collins told MLB.com. "But there's a lot of adjustments there that have to be made by him, as Matt made them."
Wheeler spent some time earlier in the week with Jay Horowitz, the club's vice president of media relations, learning about what to expect from the media in Flushing.
The 6-foot-4 hurler is 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts for Las Vegas. Wheeler has fanned 73 batters over 68 2/3 innings and has yielded 61 hits.
Peguero homered twice and drove in three runs while Ben Tenbrink had three RBIs for the Rainiers.
Erasmo Ramirez improved to 2-1, striking out seven over eight five-hit innings for Tacoma.