Dunedin's Smith hurls five no-hit frames

Left-handed reliever baffles Yanks en route to Jays' 3-0 shutout

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | April 29, 2012 2:54 PM ET

The real lesson Blue Jays left-hander Egan Smith has learned in his first season coming out of the bullpen: Always be ready.

The Jays' farmhand completed five no-hit innings of relief in Dunedin's 3-0 victory over Tampa. The Class A Advanced Jays are 10-1 at home this season.

"I felt good. I'm kind of surprised on the outing I had today," Smith admitted. "With 'Wojo' pitching, I did not think I was going to get out today."

Smith (4-1) entered the game at the start of the third inning, as Jays' No. 11 prospect Asher Wojciechowski exited early as a precaution. The righty starter was struck in the wrist of his glove hand by Kyle Roller's second-inning liner, but fanned his final two batters before exiting.

"I'm always the long guy for us and 'Wojo' usually goes deep in the game," Smith said. "It's unfortunate that he got knocked out. There's nothing to you can really do a on a comebacker. [After the game,] he just said 'Good job' when I was checking in on his wrist."

Smith picked off JR Murphy, who had reached via a fielding error on third baseman Oliver Dominguez in the fourth, and then rebounding from his walk to Tyson Blaser to start the sixth by retiring his final six batters in order.

"My changeup as usual has always been a real good pitch for me," he said. "My cutter on the inside part of the plate -- I was going away from hitters in the beginning of the game and they started [hovering] over the plate."

The 23-year-old, a seventh-round draftee of Toronto in 2009, also struck out four batters in his seventh and longest outing of the season. He has appeared exclusively out of the bullpen after making 49 of his first 50 career appearances as a starter, including last year. Smith won half of his 14 decisions and compiled a 3.84 ERA at Class A Lansing, establishing career highs in starts (24), innings (117 1/3) and strikeouts (95).

"I just want to keep going at it as I have been," Smith said. "I have to get ready faster. I don't have that luxury that I had as a starter, having plenty of time to get ready to pitch. Whatever the Blue Jays got planned for me, I'm not hurting from it. I just want to keep being consistent out the 'pen, help out any way I can."

Replacing Smith on the mound, reliever Scott Gracey struck out the side in the eighth, but closer Danny Barnes allowed singles to Jose Mojica and Ramon Flores -- the Yanks' first base knocks since the second batter of the game. Barnes still earned his ninth save.

The Jays scored a run in the third, fourth and fifth frames. No. 8 and 9 hitters Jack Murphy and Ryan Schimpf struck solo home runs against Yankees starter Jose A. Ramirez.

Shortstop Kevin Nolan also doubled home Dominguez and went 2-for-4 one day after he and third-ranked Jays prospect Jake Marisnick went deep.

"We've got a real solid lineup," Smith said. "The pitcher doesn't have any breaks against our guys. It's a nice lineup to have on your back."

Ramirez (1-4) was charged with all three runs on seven hits over his seven innings of work. He struck out four.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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