Mike Montgomery proved on Saturday that baseball is a game that you can't predict.
The Rays' No. 18 prospect faced one batter over the minimum over a career-high 8 1/3 innings and Brad Boxberger notched the final two outs as Triple-A Durham no-hit Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 5-0.
Montgomery struck out nine and walked one, facing one batter over the minimum. He retired his final 22 batters and exited after throwing 106 pitches. It was the first time this season that the 24-year-old left-hander worked past the fifth inning.
"It was a lot of fun out there," Montgomery told the Durham Herald-Sun. "It was one of those games where things started working and I got to the point where I said whatever [catcher Roman Ali Solis] throws down there, I'm throwing. And we were on the same page and he was making the right calls and I was just executing the pitches."
Montgomery had never been part of a no-hitter at any level. And it took a great defensive play by shortstop Hak-Ju Lee -- the Rays' top prospect -- to convince him he might get the chance.
"When [Lee] made that play in the sixth inning, I thought to myself, 'This could happen tonight,'" said Montgomery, who exited after retiring Ronnier Mustelier on a bouncer to first base.
Boxberger needed eight pitches to get Antoan Richardson to ground out and strike out Jose Pirela. Facing an unenviable task, the 25-year-old right-hander wasted no time in finishing off the Bulls first no-hitter since May 5, 2013, when Jake Odorizzi, Frank De Los Santos, Kirby Yates and Jeff Beliveau combined on one.
For Montgomery, the no-hitter caps a solid opening month. He's 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts in his second season with the Bulls. Save for one bad outing against Norfolk on April 16 in which he allowed five runs on four hits over 2 1/3 innings, he's looked like the pitcher who was ranked among MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects as recently as 2012.
The 24-year-old southpaw has thrown two complete games as a pro but understood he would not be able to get a third due to pitch limits.
"It's always nice to finish it, and deep down I wanted to, but I have to respect the decisions and that's just how it goes," Montgomery told the newspaper. "I wanted to, but I think from an organizational standpoint, it was more about pitch count limits and safety. And I respect that."
"He did a good job," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. "There's no explanation to it. That's the funny thing about this game. From one day to another, you don't know what's going to happen."
Cole Figueroa provided the bulk of Durham's offense, plating three runs with a single and a double. Vince Belnome slugged a solo homer, scored three times and fell a triple shy of the cycle for the Bulls.
RailRiders starter Caleb Cotham fell to 0-2 after allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits over four innings.