Alex Gonzalez didn't have his best stuff Tuesday. It was still enough to make a bid for history.
The Rangers' No. 6 prospect took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach defeated Frederick, 3-1, on Tuesday.
Gonzalez gave up a single to Michael Burgess with no outs in the seventh inning after walking Tucker Nathans to open the frame. A flyout by Creede Simpson advanced Nathans to third base, then Gonzalez uncorked a wild pitch that allowed him to score.
"The base hit was actually a broken bat," said Pelicans pitching coach Steve Mintz. "It was in between the shortstop and left field and center field, in that little spot. The third time around [Burgess] just got enough of it to be able to shoot it out there where nobody was standing."
Overall, the 22-year-old right-hander gave up one run on one hit and struck out four over seven innings to improve to 5-2 for the Pelicans.
"He had his good fastball command going early," Mintz said. "Not his best stuff tonight, but enough sink that he was able to keep it off the barrel of the bat. Not that his stuff wasn't good, but I've seen him with a whole lot better stuff. It just seemed tonight he was able to throw enough and had enough movement. I think there was one line drive to third base on a one-handed swing, that was the only ball they touched hard."
While Gonzalez has been terrific in his return to the Carolina League following a five-game stint there at the end of last year, he's been exceptional in May. The Florida native is 4-0 with a 0.96 ERA in four starts. Gonzalez has limited hitters to a .143 batting average while fanning 20 batters over 28 innings.
"Being able to change speeds, that's one thing he was working on at the end of last season," the former Major Leaguer said. "Getting the change into play. Just getting the confidence to do that, to throw it 2-1, not having to lay his fastball in.They're gonna need it when they leave here."
Overall, Gonzalez is tied for the league lead with five wins and is fifth with a 2.28 ERA. With his strong start to the year, it's inevitable to wonder if the Oral Roberts University product might make the move to Double-A. According to Mintz, there's little the hurler needs to do to be able to make that jump.
"Exactly what he's doing," Mintz said. "He needs to do no more. When he gets to Double-A, the quality of pitches are going to have to get a little better, throwing more balls in the zone that go out and look like strikes. As you move up, that's things he'll learn. He's doing exactly what we need him to do to go to Double-A."
Jose Leclerc followed and walked three over two hitless innings to earn his sixth save for Myrtle Beach.
Jorge Alfaro, the Rangers' top prospect, doubled and drove in a run while Royce Bolinger was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Pelicans.
Parker Bridwell, the Orioles' No. 15 prospect, fell to 1-6 after giving up three runs on six hits and fanning eight over six innings for the Keys.