Hector Yan and Cole Duensing were sharp for Class A Burlington on Saturday night. In fact, they were oh-so-close to history.
The Bees were one out away from their first no-hitter since 2008 when Peoria's Ivan Herrere singled to left-center field off Duensing. The right-hander closed the game out on the next batter as the Bees defeated the Chiefs, 7-1, at Dozer Park.
Video: Burlington's Yan whiffs fifth batter
"I thought they performed incredibly well," Bees pitching coach Jonathan Van Eaton said. "They stuck to the game plan and attacked the strike zone. They were both able to throw zeros after big innings. They made Peoria swing the bat."
Yan (2-2), the Angels' No. 29 prospect, retired the first 14 batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk in the fifth inning to Josh Shaw. The southpaw induced a flyout from Brandon Riley to finish his night on his 71st pitch. He struck out five while facing one batter over the minimum.
Coming off a career-high 12-strikeout performance against Clinton, Yan dropped his ERA to 3.47. He also moved into a seventh-place tie in the Midwest League with 71 punchouts over 49 1/3 innings.
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What makes the 5-foot-11 left-hander so tough? Van Eaton attributes it to Yan's ball always being in motion.
"The movement on his pitches and the ability to command the strike zone," he said. "He's been working extremely hard and he's finally starting to see the benefits from the hard work."
The five innings matched the longest that Yan has gone into a game this season, doing it three times previously. That's all part of the plan that the organization has in place for the native of the Dominican Republic.
"It's part of the process for right now," Van Eaton said. "We will see what happens in the second half, but he's gradually taking steps in the right direction."
Duensing came on in relief and picked up where Yan left off, putting away 11 straight Chiefs before plunking Cardinals No. 23 prospect Wadye Ynfante with one out in the ninth. The single by Herrera -- St. Louis' 18th-ranked prospect -- scored Ynfante with Peoria's lone run.
Van Eaton decided it was time for a visit to the mound to remind his pitcher there was still work to do.
"It was just to bring him back down to earth and be like, 'Dude, this game is not over,'" he said. "That was a really cool experience, but the job is not done. Take a deep breath and we have to close this thing out. There's a bigger picture out here."
Duensing struck out four, raising his total to 55 in 57 2/3 innings.
2019 MiLB include
"He's a bulldog," Van Eaton said. "Even on nights when he doesn't have his best stuff he's going to go out there and give you 100%. I'd like to say that about every guy on our staff. He competes his tail off."
The Bees' last no-hitter came on Aug. 7, 2008 when Danny Duffy and Juan Abreu hurled one against the same Peoria club in a 10-0 victory.
Justin Jones led the Burlington at the plate, smacking a three-run homer in the second. Keinner Pina went 2-for-3 with a solo shot in the fifth and two runs scored.