Ben Braymer's Double-A Harrisburg teammates could not finish what he started, but that did nothing to dampen the best performance of his career.
The Nationals' No. 23 prospect did not allow a hit over a career-high eight frames, but the Senators dropped a 1-0, 10-inning decision to the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Wednesday night at The Diamond. No. 28 Giants prospect Jalen Miller delivered the game's only run -- and the Squirrels' lone hit -- with a one-out single to left field.
Harrisburg was trying for its second no-hitter of the season and the Eastern League's first extra-inning gem since Glens Falls' Mark Esser and Bill Atkinson made history across 11 frames against Reading on Aug. 2, 1982.
Video: Harrisburg's Braymer fans seventh batter
From the time he began long-tossing in the outfield prior to the game, Braymer had a premonition something special might happen.
"I felt something different from the get-go tonight and it carried over into the game," the Auburn product said. "I have a tremendous amount of trust in [catcher] Tres Barrera and his pitch-calling and defense. We stuck with the game plan, attacked with the fastball and went off-speed when needed."
Miller was the first Flying Squirrels hitter to reach safely -- aside from the designated runner at second base in the 10th -- since Zach Houchins walked with one out in the second. Braymer was the primary factor, setting down the last 20 batters he faced. The 25-year-old walked one and struck out seven in his second career start in which he carried a no-hitter through the seventh. Braymer fired seven hitless frames for Class A Advanced Potomac against Myrtle Beach last Aug. 14.
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"I figured my pitch count was getting up there, so I emptied the tank and left everything out there at that point," he said. "I wasn't thinking about going deeper or throwing the no-hitter. I just wanted to give everything I had each inning I was pitching."
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native knew what was at stake as he made his way into the middle of the game, but he didn't let it affect his mind-set.
"I started to realize [I had the no-hitter] around the fifth or sixth inning, but I tried not to give it much thought," Braymer said. "I wanted to stick to my game plan, put up zeros and not get caught up in the fact I hadn't given up a hit. It makes it easier pitching in [scoreless games] like this. It's exciting. It propels me, but I don't think it affects my way of attacking the hitters."
The southpaw's third scoreless outing of the season lowered his ERA to 2.55, although he's winless in six tries (0-4) since May 15, despite posting a 2.00 ERA in that span.
Video: Miller drives in winning run for Richmond
"Every once in a while, as a pitcher, your stuff will have a special day," Braymer said. "Whenever that occurs, there's also great defense played behind you. There were a number of good plays behind me tonight, so I'd say [starts like this] are a combo of elevation of stuff and teammates picking you up when it's needed."
Bryan Bonnell (1-1) carried the no-no into extra innings with a perfect ninth and retired Jonah Arenado on a popup for the first out of the 10th before Miller delivered the game-winner.
2019 MiLB include
Adrian Sanchez and Chuck Taylor had the only hits for Harrisburg, which clinched the Eastern League Western Division first-half title when Altoona lost to Portland. The Senators had not reached the playoffs since 2013.
Richmond left-hander Garrett Williams matched Braymer for five innings. The 20th-ranked Giants prospect allowed one hit and four walks while striking out six in his second consecutive scoreless outing. Tyler Cyr and No. 15 prospect Melvin Adon (2-5) combined to yield one hit and three walks with four punchouts over five frames out of the Squirrels bullpen.