Guillermo Moscoso already has logged one historic outing as a Minor Leaguer. On Friday night, he came within five outs of a second.
Six years after throwing a perfect game while in the Tigers system, the veteran right-hander carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning as Triple-A Iowa blanked visiting Albuquerque, 3-0.
Moscoso etched his name in the short-season New York-Penn League record books on July 15, 2007. As a member of the Oneonta Tigers, he tossed the second nine-inning perfect game in league history and first since June 23, 1956.
That outing came before 2,787 fans at Oneonta's Damaschke Field. On Friday night, 14,098 took in Moscoso's no-hit bid at Iowa's Principal Park, giving him a rousing ovation when the Isotopes finally got their first hit.
Albuquerque catcher Damaso Espino spoiled the effort, taking advantage after Moscoso fell behind the right-handed hitter, 2-0, with a pair of fastballs. The 29-year-old came back with a pair of sliders for strikes, but after Espino fouled off a pitch, Moscoso left his offering up. Espino drove the ball the other way and strolled into second with a double.
Through 15 starts, Moscoso is 7-5 with a 4.07 ERA over 84 innings. He's struck out 80 batters, walked 41 and served up 14 home runs. And I-Cubs manager Marty Pevey said that Friday was as sharp as Moscoso's looked since his debut with Iowa on April 30. He allowed a run on three hits over five innings in that game but has struggled with his command since.
"The first thing he did tonight that he hadn't done in his previous outings was he was down in the zone," Pevey said. "He changed speeds so well with the changeup and the slider, and he worked ahead a lot better and kept them off-balance. That's a good hitting team with speed and power."
The Venezuela native was released by the Royals on March 13 and, after a brief stint with the Blue Jays, was claimed off waivers by the Cubs on March 27. He's been with Iowa, where he's trying to earn a stint in the Major Leagues for the fifth consecutive season.
Moscoso made his big league debut with the Rangers in 2009, then returned for one appearance with Texas in 2010. Acquired by the A's in January 2011, he wound up posting a 3.38 ERA in 21 starts that season. Last year, he had a 6.12 ERA over 50 innings with the Rockies, working primarily out of the bullpen.
Pevey has been impressed with Moscoso's commitment to getting back to the Majors, saying it's apparent he's shed some weight from his 6-foot-1 frame. He's also won his last five starts while shaving nearly a run off his ERA.
"He's a hard worker," Pevey said. "He's dropped some pounds and really strengthened his core. With his shirt off now, he looks good. He's really taken that upon himself."
Moscoso faced one batter over the minimum through five innings and stranded Espino at second base by retiring Nick Buss and Dee Gordon on fly balls. With 100 pitches under his belt and the heart of the Isotopes lineup due up in the ninth, he was pulled for closer Brian Schlitter, who notched his 11th save with a hitless ninth.
Iowa scored the only run Moscoso needed in the fourth on Darnell McDonald's RBI single. The Cubs padded the lead in the seventh on J.C. Boscan's two-run double.
Isotopes starter Rob Rasmussen (0-3) allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits with six strikeouts over seven innings.