A late balk was the only thing separating Alex Sanabia and Casey Coleman on Monday in a classic pitcher's duel that featured just four hits and took less than two hours.
Sanabia held Triple-A New Orleans to a pair of hits over eight innings, striking out seven, but his balk in the eighth inning allowed Iowa's Brett Jackson to score the game's lone run and hand reliever Scott Maine his second win of the year, 1-0, at Principal Park.
Coleman started for Iowa and struck out a career-high nine batters, surrendering just two hits and a walk over seven innings in a no-decision. He threw 61 of his 91 pitches for strikes, lowering his ERA to 3.48. It was the sixth straight start in which Coleman allowed two earned runs or fewer.
Sanabia was equally effective, taking a no-hitter into the sixth until Coleman himself hit a two-out double off the top of the right-field wall. The lone run came in the eighth when he walked Jackson to start the frame and then allowed his second hit, a single to right by Josh Vitters. His balk while facing Jonathan Mota allowed Jackson to trot home from third for the go-ahead run.
Maine (2-0) was nearly perfect in his two frames, holding New Orleans to a walk while lowering his ERA to 0.96.
Coleman, who made his Major League debut in 2010 and has appeared in 31 games with Chicago over two seasons, is 2-3 through his first seven outings (six starts) in his third season at the Triple-A level. He was the Cubs' 15th-round pick in 2008 out of Florida Gulf Coast and a year later was named the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year with Double-A Tennessee.
Sanabia's single in the third was the first of two hits for New Orleans (17-14) -- Cole Armstrong had the other. The Major League veteran fell to 3-1 with the loss; he's allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his seven starts for the Z's, Miami's top affiliate.