Miguel Pinango was two outs from perfection before pitching the fifth no-hitter in team history as the Binghamton Mets blanked the Portland Sea Dogs, 7-0, to sweep Sunday's doubleheader.
Pinango (5-6) retired the first 19 batters, aided by center fielder Carlos Gomez, who made a diving catch to record the first out in the seventh inning. After Matt Van Der Bosch reached first on an errant throw by shortstop Corey Ragsdale to end the perfect game, the 23-year-old right-hander fanned Chad Spann and retired Luis Antonio Jimenez on a groundout to seal the no-hitter.
"The pitch that he went to the most in time of need was the changeup. Outstanding changeup," said Mets pitching coach Mark Brewer, adding that Pinango was "in control from the word 'go' today."
As rain began to fall at Hadlock Field, Brewer's only words of advice to his hurler were to "let the umpire know if the mound gets too wet."
Pinango has nine career complete games, including four shutouts. He was one out away from a nine-inning no-hitter on Aug. 23, 2002, when he pitched for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.
The Venezuelan matched a season high with seven strikeouts and won his fourth straight decision. Brewer explained that Pinango, who was 0-3 in his first 11 starts while battling a right shoulder injury, has been "gaining strength" since the end of the first half.
Bob Keppel tossed Binghamton's last no-hitter on Aug. 2, 2003, also against Portland in a 3-0 victory. Matthew Bailie pitched the Eastern League's last no-hitter last Aug. 14 against Bowie.
Kevin Rios got the Mets (50-49) started with a two-run double in the third and Jay Caligiuri hammered a grand slam to make it 6-0.
"That takes a lot off of the pitcher," Brewer said.
Michel Abreu, who homered twice in the opener, delivered an RBI double in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Gomez singled in the third to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, tying New Hampshire's Adam Lind for the longest in the league this season.
Sea Dogs starter Frank Brooks (1-2) surrendered six runs -- five earned -- on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk over three innings.
Portland (55-45), which was shut out for the ninth time this season, have been no-hit four times in their history.