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Ramirez, Pinder combine on no-no

Tampa duo blanks St. Lucie in seven-inning twinbill nightcap
July 12, 2012
Signed by the Yankees as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic five years ago, Jose Ramirez has more pro baseball experience than a lot of players his age.

On Thursday, he added a new accomplishment to his resume.

Ramirez struck out seven batters over six innings and Branden Pinder pitched a perfect seventh frame as the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees no-hit the St. Lucie Mets, 1-0, to earn a sweep of a day-night doubleheader.

"What I really worked on tonight was my focus," Ramirez said through teammate Manny Barreda. "All of my pitches were working well and I was just focused on going pitch by pitch and thinking about how to get batters out.

"This is my best game professionally. The most I have gone into a no-hitter is five innings, but I've never been part of one before. I'm happy about it."

It was the 17th no-hitter in Tampa history and the first since Jose Veras and Daniel McCutchen combined on a seven-inning no-no against Lakeland on July 22, 2007.

It was also the 11th no-hitter in the Minors this season and the first in the Florida State League since Alex Wimmers achieved the feat for Fort Myers against Jupiter in September.

The 6-foot-1 right-hander allowed four baserunners, but only one reached second base.

He hit T.J. Rivera -- the second batter he faced -- and he later plunked Cesar Puello with one out in the third. Richard Lucas drew a one-out walk against Ramirez in the fifth, but was erased on an inning-ending double play, and Rivera reached for a second time on third baseman Hector Rabago's throwing error with two outs in the sixth.

"I was just getting ahead with my fastball," said Ramirez, a native of Yaguate, a small town in the south of the Dominican Republic just outside the country's capital, Santo Domingo. "I was throwing my fastball a lot because I had good life on it and I was throwing it for strikes.

"In the fourth inning I started paying attention to [the no-hitter] and looking up at the scoreboard and seeing zeros up there. After I came out of the game, that was when I was feeling it and realizing what was really happening. During the game, I didn't feel it."

Ramirez would have liked to finish what he started, but he was told before the game he was on a strict pitch count after experiencing arm fatigue earlier in the month.

"I've just come back from an injury and I had an innings limit so I couldn't come back out for the seventh," he explained. "My limit was 85 pitches or six innings no matter what the outcome was.

"I felt confident with Pinder in there because he does a good job and he has a lot of confidence."

The victory helped Ramirez lower his ERA to 3.39 and improve to 3-4. Over his last five outings, he has allowed two runs on 11 hits over 24 innings. He has struck out 20 batters and issued four walks.

St. Lucie starter Rafael Montero (2-1) took the complete-game loss for the visitors. He allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out eight batters over six innings.

In the first game of the twinbill, Tampa beat St. Lucie, 4-2.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to