Chris Devenski remained on the field a little longer than usual Saturday night, soaking in the pitching experience of a lifetime.
The Astros prospect tossed the first individual no-hitter in the history of the Class A Lexington Legends, recording a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 10-0 rout of playoff-bound Rome.
"It's unreal, man," Devenski said of the postgame hysteria. "I'm standing here with shaving cream all over my face, surrounded by all the guys, there's fireworks going off. This is amazing."
Pitching past the seventh inning for the first time in his two-year Minor League career, Devenski issued a fifth-inning walk to Kyle Kubitza in an otherwise flawless effort.
"It's starting to [sink in] right now," he said. "Everything was working for me out there. I'm proud of myself and proud of my teammates for grinding it out with me."
The 16 strikeouts nearly doubled Devenski's previous career high of nine, a mark he surpassed in the top of the sixth Saturday.
The 21-year-old right-hander was able to pitch with the lead nearly the entire game after Matt Duffy slugged a three-run homer in the first.
"It was awesome to have a solid lead," he said. "Every pitcher loves to play with a lead, and for me, when I have a lead I just say that I'm going to come right after the [batter] and let him put the ball in play. When you have run support, it's great."
Duffy would have been the star of the game had it not been for Devenski's historic night. He went 3-for-5 with two homers, a double, five RBIs and three runs scored. The third baseman also made the defensive play of the night, an acrobatic catch on a fly ball down the left-field line.
"Matt Duffy had a great game," Devenski said. "I tip my cap to him for to the catch he made down the line, which was an awesome catch. He's really finishing the year strong."
Saturday was Devenski's fifth start with the Legends after the Astros acquired him on Aug. 3 to complete the trade that sent right-hander Brett Myers to the White Sox. The 2011 25th-round Draft pick was 6-5 with a 4.23 ERA in 19 games for Class A Kannapolis before the deal.
Although he has been with Lexington for less than a month, the Long Beach, Calif., native said that changes in his routine and preparation since the trade already have improved his game.
"When I came over from Kannapolis, [the Lexington staff] had me start working from the third-base side of the mound," Devenski said. "I've been working on my stride length with [pitching coach] Dave Borkowski and working on keeping the ball down in the zone. Everything that I've been doing in the bullpen, everything I've been working on day in and day out is translating into my game."
Devenski (8-7) also is continuing the transition from the bullpen, where he spent roughly his first season and a half as a pro.
"I like going deeper into the game," he said. "When I was in the 'pen, I was only a one- to two-inning guy. And since I moved to the rotation, it's given me a chance to pitch deeper into ballgames and give my team a better chance to win."
Lexington's only other no-hitter came on July 30, 2001, when Derek Stanford, Chris George and Kirk Saarloos combined to beat Hickory. Devenski also became the first South Atlantic Leaguer to go the distance in a no-hitter since Asheville's Bruce Billings on July 23, 2008 against Lakewood.
This was the third Sally League no-hitter this season. Jose Fernandez, Greg Nappo and Kevin Cravey combined on one for Greensboro on April 23 and Mickey Pena, Hunter Cervenka and Tyler Lockwood authored the other for Greenville on May 8.
Braves starter Greg Ross (7-9) took the loss after surrendering five runs on six hits over four innings.