Indians' Wilson befuddles Bulls

Lefty allows one hit over seven shutout frames in 9-6 victory

Justin Wilson was the MVP of the Eastern League playoffs in 2010. (Kevin Pataky/

By John Parker / Special to | May 12, 2011 7:30 PM ET

Left-hander Justin Wilson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and first baseman Matt Hague went 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple and three RBIs on Thursday night as Indianapolis outlasted host Durham, 9-6.

Wilson ultimately gave up one hit while walking five over seven scoreless frames. He struck out three and induced nine groundball outs and two flyouts. The 23-year-old threw 98 pitches -- 59 for strikes. It was his longest and strongest outing of the season.

The Pirates' fifth-round pick in the 2008 Draft, Wilson has a history of winning. He won the 2008 College World Series with Fresno State, was part of the Class A Advanced Carolina League-champion Lynchburg Hillcats in 2009, and helped Altoona win its first Eastern League title last season. He threw 13 scoreless playoff innings for the Curve in 2010 and was named the circuit's postseason MVP.

"Winning always builds confidence," Wilson said. "It's that much easier to do everything when the team is doing well."

Wilson (3-3) sports a 2.36 ERA over 42 innings this season. He's held opposing hitters to a .201 average in his first seven Triple-A outings.

Though he walked a season-high five batters and had only two 1-2-3 innings, Wilson managed to avoid serious trouble by keeping the ball down and allowing his defense, which turned a pair of double plays behind him, to work. Only one Bull reached third base over his seven frames, and Wilson has not allowed a home run in his last five starts.

"I got outs when I needed them," said Wilson, who had never taken a no-hitter so far at any level previously. "The guys made some great defensive plays behind me, and [my catcher] called a great game."

The Bulls finally tallied a hit with one out in the seventh. After Chris Carter grounded out and Russ Canzler reached on an error, J.J. Furmaniak hit a sharp ground ball back up the middle. It tipped off the glove of a diving Pedro Ciriaco, the Indians second baseman, on its way into center field for a hit.

"I knew it was a hit right off the bat," Wilson said. "Pedro made a great try for it, but it was hit hard."

Wilson got Durham catcher Robinson Chirinos to ground into a double play to end the threat.

Meanwhile, the middle of the Indians batting order was torching the Bulls pitching staff. Hague finished a double shy of the cycle after singling in the first, tripling in the fourth, singling in the seventh and homering in the Indians' five-run eighth inning.

Left fielder John Bowker doubled twice, singled and drove in two runs while third baseman Josh Harrison went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.

The Bulls offense woke up after Wilson's exit, scoring three runs in both the eighth and ninth, but was unable to overcome the nine-run deficit.

Durham leadoff man Desmond Jennings finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs after doubling in the eighth and smacking a three-run homer, his fourth of the season, in the ninth.

Bulls starter Alexander Torres fell to 2-3 after allowing four runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 frames. He struck out four and walked five.

The two clubs split their four-game set, which began with an Indians win in the Bulls' return to the Durham Athletic Park on Monday night.

John Parker is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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