When Archie Bradley finally returned to the Mobile dugout in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, he was struck by its eerie silence.
"It was pretty quiet," the top D-backs prospect said. "Kind of the calm before the storm."
The right-hander had been in the clubhouse doing his usual post-start arm maintenance after throwing five hitless innings. He returned in time to see Jake Barrett snap the silence with a perfect inning to seal the first no-hitter in Double-A BayBears history. Bradley, Matt Gorgen, Derek Eitel,Willy Paredes and Barrett combined on the feat in a 2-0 victory over the Huntsville Stars.
The no-no was the second in eight days in the Southern League. Tennessee's Eric Jokisch no-hit Jacksonville on Aug. 6.
Bradley struck out seven and walking five while tossing 51 of his 98 pitches for strikes over his outing. The No. 7 prospect on MLB.com's Top 100 list improved to 9-5, dropping his ERA to 2.00. The right-hander has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five consecutive starts.
The only flaw in Bradley's effort was the walk total. On July 27, the right-hander walked seven Birmingham batters while completing five two-run innings, but he had issued just one walk in 16 innings over two starts since.
"I thought I threw the ball well overall," he said. "Any time you don't give up any runs or hits, that's obviously good. I struggled with my command a little bit.
"That's where I think my maturity and my mental side of the game picked me up. I was struggling with my command, but I was able to stay sharp and pitch out of jams."
He showed off that mental aptitude in the first inning, when he walked two but evaded the jam by getting Rene Tosoni to pop out and then striking out Brock Kjeldgaard looking.
"Those two guys are good hitters with good numbers," Bradley said. "Obviously, when you're command is a little off, you just have to step off the mound and compose yourself. [Catcher Rossmel Perez] came out to talk and settle me down, and then I made the pitches to get out of the jam."
The strikeout was the first of three by Kjeldgaard, including a final punchout when Barrett retired the left fielder after a mound visit from Perez to end the game.
Barrett began the at-bat by working a 1-2 count, but then threw consecutive balls to work a full count. The 2-2 pitch was a slider that missed, and as soon as he missed it, Barrett figured he'd get a visit from Perez.
The 23-year-old catcher jogged out, but the right-hander didn't let him say much.
"As soon as we got to two outs, I knew the no-hitter was on the line and I was just thinking about striking the guy out with my best strikeout pitch," Barrett said. "Once it was 1-2, I was just thinking, 'Throw a nasty slider.'
"That's all I was thinking about. [Perez] came out to me, asked me what I wanted to throw, and I told him right away that I wanted to throw a slider. ... As soon as I saw him, I told him, 'Yeah, I'm throwing the slider.'"
The 22-year-old froze Kjeldgaard with the 3-2 breaking ball, and home-plate umpire Alex Ransom rang up strike three.
"As soon as we got the last guy out, everybody rushed to the mound, all came out and were real happy," Barrett said. "It was a great feeling shaking hands with the other pitchers."
The save was Barrett's 10th in 17 appearances this season and lowered his ERA to 0.51.
Gorgen logged a perfect sixth that included strikeouts of Jason Rogers and Tosoni.
Eitel replaced Gorgen for the seventh, and Kjeldgaard was his first test. The Huntsville slugger put good wood on a pitch and drove it deep -- but into the wind -- toward left field. Mobile left fielder Justin Greene tracked the high fly down at the warning track and reeled it in for the first out.
After walking Mike Walker, Eitel then struck out Anderson De La Rosa and Hector Gomez swinging to end the seventh.
Paredes tossed a scoreless eighth and Barrett entered the game. Rogers led off, driving a fly ball well into center but within the range of Ender Inciarte. Tosoni then shot a line drive to left, but Justin Greene got a bead on the ball and made a running grab for the second out. Barrett then struck out Kjeldgaard to end the game.