Blake Perry's time in the Midwest League has spanned three seasons and 36 appearances. He almost made history in his 28th start for Class A South Bend.
The D-backs prospect carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning Friday night but had to settle for no-decision as the Silver Hawks outlasted Lake County, 1-0, at Four Winds Field.
"You don't think about giving up hits, that's just a part of baseball. If you think about giving up hits, that's just another thing to worry about," Perry said. "I was just trying to execute pitches, let my defense get some work.
"It was a good night. Me and my catcher, Michael Perez, we got into a good rhythm. We worked off our rhythm and the fastball all night. I didn't shake him off much."
The 22-year-old right-hander allowed a baserunner in each of the first three innings on two walks and an errant curveball that hit Clint Frazier, the Indians' No. 2 prospect. He retired the next 13 batters before Anthony Santander stepped up to the plate with two outs in the seventh.
The designated hitter smacked a pitch to right fielder Zach Esquerra, who fielded it on a bounce rather than trying to make a difficult diving play that Perry thought could have resulted in an inside-the-park home run.
After Santander stole second and Paul Hendrix walked, Perry's night was over.
"Obviously, I want to throw as long as I can into the game, [but] I was very happy with the way I threw," the 2010 sixth-round Draft pick said. "It was very encouraging when players are on the top step of the dugout, telling you good job and your teammates are high-fiving you and saying great start when you get back to the dugout."
Perry struck out six and brought his ERA down from 7.24 to 4.87 after his first scoreless outing of the season. He said the biggest thing he needs to improve to get the next level is consistency as well as cutting down his walk totals.
"No-hitters are few and far between, it was more about having a solid outing to build on for the next outing," he said. "It was a solid night. I did a lot of good."
Silvino Bracho (1-0) relieved Perry and pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings for the win. J.R. Bradley struck out the side in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
The game featured only five hits and the Silver Hawks scored the lone run without one. Esquerra opened the bottom of the eighth by getting hit by a pitch, took second on a ground ball and came home on Hendrix's error at shortstop.
Captains starter Luis Lugo matched Perry for six innings, holding South Bend to two hits and a walk while striking out six. Robbie Aviles (0-1) was charged with an unearned run on two hits over two frames.
"He was in a groove. He gave up a hit or two early, [but] other than that, he was having really quick innings," Perry said of Lugo. "This guy is out there pitching his butt off, too. As a competitor, it really motivates me."