SAN JOSE, CA (June 24th, 2013) -- For the first time since 1987, Modesto combined for a no-hitter, as Dan Winkler, Nelson Gonzalez, and Scott Oberg held San Jose without a hit in a 2-0 Nuts victory on Monday night at Municipal Stadium.
It was the first no-hitter in the nine-year history of the Nuts.
Winkler (10-2), who has been one of the most dominant pitchers in all of minor-league baseball this season, led the way with seven hitless innings. He allowed only three scattered walks in the game, and struck out seven before exiting with 102 pitches under his belt.
Nelson Gonzalez worked a perfect eighth inning, and Scott Oberg retired the Giants in order in the ninth to finish off the rare feat.
The final out provided a dramatic finish. With two outs and the bases empty in the ninth, Giants infielder Brock Bond lined a ball right back up the middle, with it caroming off of Oberg's foot and angling directly to first-baseman Harold Riggins, who flipped it back to Oberg, who then beat Bond in a foot race to the bag to finish off the game.
That wasn't the only stellar defensive play of the night. In the bottom of the sixth, Taylor Featherston made two terrific stops at second-base to keep the no-hitter in tact. Skyler Stromsmoe opened the inning with a sharp grounder to the right side, with Featherston diving to the left and retiring Stromsmoe just in time for the out. The next batter, Chris Lofton, hit a hard grounder up the middle, with Featherston moving to his right, going to a slide to grab it, and firing to first to narrowly retire Lofton for the out.
Bond also led off the seventh with a well-hit ball that carried deep into right-center field, but David Kandilas raced it down in the gap to put him away.
Modesto scored both of their runs in the contest with two outs against Giants starter Ty Blach. With two outs and the bases empty in the third, Featherson singled and then scored on an RBI double by Ryan Casteel. Harold Riggins hit a 2-out solo home run in the sixth, his 10th of the year, to make it 2-0. Blach (7-3), who entered the game with the second best ERA in the league only behind Winkler, took the tough-luck loss.
With his seven strikeouts in the game, Winkler now leads all of minor-league baseball with a 105 this season, surpassing Diamonbacks prospect Archie Bradley who held 103 at the start of the night. Winkler also holds the top WHIP (0.78) and batting average against (.152) amongst all minor leaguers across the country. Winkler is now tied for the most wins with 10, joining Astros' farmhand David Martinez, who is 10-1 for the Corpus Christi Hooks. Winkler also lowered his ERA to a league-best 1.99 on the season.
The Nuts are now 5-0 to start the second half, and look to keep their hot-streak going as they continue with game two in San Jose tomorrow night. RHP Ben Alsup (4-8, 4.30) will start for Modesto, opposite LHP Edwin Escobar (2-3, 3.18) for the Giants.