Mike Kickham admittedly didn't have his best stuff when he took the hill for Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday night, but he made the most of what he did have.
With a few well-located pitches, a capable defense and a little bit of luck, in fact, he was able to take a no-hitter well into the seventh inning.
The 24-year-old went 6 2/3 frames against Round Rock before Mike Bianucci singled, and ultimately finished allowing two runs on a hit and five walks with a strikeout over that span en route to the Grizzlies' 5-3 victory.
"Honestly, I didn't feel like anything in particular was working, didn't feel like any one pitch stood out," he said. "We had some great defensive plays behind me, [Fresno catcher Hector Sanchez] called a great game, so yeah, I was just happy we were able to hang on there at the end and get the victory.
"Just pitching in [helped]. I think location, just more than anything. Stuff-wise there wasn't anything special, but I was able to pitch pretty effectively, get some ground balls. A combination of that with the defense really allowed me to get so deep in the game without giving up a hit there."
It was an especially sweet way for the No. 6 Giants prospect to bounce back after his last start, which saw him unable to make it out of the first inning after allowing three runs -- two earned -- on two hits and a two walks with a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning against Salt Lake on July 25.
"Coming off a rough start, it was good to get deep in the game, not just for myself but for the bullpen, because they picked me up last time out," he said. "Just kind of wanted to take the workload off them. They did a great job coming in and preserving the victory, so when it's all said and done, just winning the game is the most important part. It's a little gratification, I guess, with the no-hitter thing, just as long as we get the victory in the end is all that matters."
Kickham (4-7) lowered his season ERA to 5.10 in 90 innings with the effort. He has struck out 75 while walking 45.
He also had an extended stint in the bigs with San Francisco in which he made four consecutive starts from June 25 to July 10. He struggled, going 0-3 with a 10.61 ERA in 18 2/3 innings, but posted strong peripherals with 21 strikeouts and eight walks.
"Just being around that staff, you know you have a lot of different guys you can draw from," he said. "Timmy [Lincecum], a two-time Cy Young Award winner. [Matt] Cain who's just had a great career, a workhorse. [Madison Bumgarner] a great young talent. [Barry] Zito who is a veteran guy that knows a lot. And you got [Ryan Vogelsong], of course, who's in the same mold as Zito. So when I was up there, I tried to learn as much as I could.
"Even going up there and not doing as well as you hope, it's a learning experience. Sometimes that's the best way to learn and I got a little taste of it. I know what I need to work on, know what I need to do to have success at that next level."
Offensively for the Grizzlies, Ehire Adrianza tripled, plated a run and scored once and Johnny Monell doubled, picked up an RBI and scored once as well.