With a no-hitter on the line, Daniel Wright admitted there was nerves. Manageable ones.
He just tried to focus on one pitch at a time, but it took just one pitch to end his shot at California League history.
"I left a slider up," he said.
Mitch Delfino hit that slider for a leadoff single in the eighth inning, spoiling Wright's no-hit bid. And while he did not come away with the milestone on Tuesday night, he picked up the win as Class A Advanced Bakersfield cruised past visiting San Jose, 8-2.
"Coming into every game, you kind of have a little [bit of] jitters and throughout the year I've learned how to keep control of my nerves," the Reds prospect said. "I didn't even realize until the bottom of the sixth. I turned around in the sixth and realized I didn't have hits [allowed]. It was in the back of my mind, but I tried to take it one pitch at a time."
After Delfino's single, Wright got a visit from pitching coach Tom Browning. The message?
"'That was fun to watch, now let's get more outs,'" Wright recalled.
The 23-year-old right-hander surrendered a two-run homer to Tyler Horan and a single to Ben Turner. He retired Chuckie Jones on a forceout, but with his pitch limit of 95 reached, Wright's night was over.
"You always want to go as many innings as you can, especially into the seventh and eighth and ninth. You always want to finish them off," he said after giving up two runs on three hits with five strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. "Complete games are something you don't get to do often in the Minor Leagues, so getting that last out is cool.
"I felt good. I was able to keep my fastball down, mix in my off-speed pitches for strikes and balls when I wanted them to chase."
The Arkansas State product recently went through a tough stretch, allowing 23 runs -- 17 earned -- on 28 hits over 19 1/3 innings in four starts. But he turned things i his outing, limiting Visalia to a run on four hits over six frames.
"After a rough outing, you always want to go back to the basics of fastball command. So after my rough outing, I focused on fastballs, low in the zone," Wright said. "It's been good to have quality starts back-to-back."
El'Hajj Muhammad relieved and pitched around a hit and three walks over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Blaze gave Wright (7-4) plenty of run support as Jeff Gelalich, Marquez Smith and Sebastian Elizalde homered, with Elizalde falling a triple shy of the cycle. Smith's three-run blast gave him a Minor League-leading 106 RBIs.
"It makes it 100 times easier," Wright said. "Just go out there and pound the zone, try not to walk anyone because that's how runs get scored in this league."