Wins and losses sometimes can be out of a pitcher's control. For Trevor May on Friday, his best start of the season played out a little unfairly.
The Phillies' top prospect took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before hitting a batter and walking another. Pulled by Reading manager Dusty Wathan, May watched reliever Lisalberto Bonilla give up an RBI single to Evan Bigley as the New Britain Rock Cats went on to post a 4-1 victory.
"It's frustrating, but with my teammates, we're all human and there were some tough pressure situations," May said. "I have bad nights, they have bad nights, and things just don't go our way sometimes. It's frustrating to know I left those runners on base. In the end, you gotta be disappointed to go out in that fashion."
May (5-2) said he was generally happy with the way he pitched but was handed his second straight loss as David Bromberg combined with two Rock Cats' relievers on a two-hitter.
"Everything felt pretty good tonight, I felt like I had all my off-speed pitches working," said May, who struck out five, walked four and hit a pair of batters over 6 1/3 innings.
"In the fourth, I felt confidence throwing first-pitch strikes and mixing it up -- my slider, curve and change were all there tonight, so I tried to use it all, put the doubt in hitter's minds. Things pretty much worked out that way."
The 22-year-old right-hander walked Twins No. 2 prospect Aaron Hicks and hit Joe Benson in the first but escaped en route to retiring 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. He pitched around another walk in the fifth, worked a 1-2-3 sixth and retired the first batter in the seventh before hitting Chris Colabello and walking Deibinson Romero.
The key inning easily could have gone in his favor, May said.
"It was just a change that got away, ran in a little more than I would have liked," he said of plunking Colabello. "I got behind the next guy and on a 3-2 count I thought I made a pretty good pitch and unfortunately, it was a ball. Had it been a strike, [catcher] Sebastian [Valle] made a good thrown down to second and it could have been different. But it didn't go my way at that time."
May left after reaching his pitch count before Bigley tagged Bonilla with a single to left field that broke the scoreless deadlock. Wilkin Ramirez's leadoff homer sparked New Britain's three-run eighth.
"I knew I had been approaching my limit and, in the Minors, it's all about development and keeping arms fresh, so I knew it would be inevitable," May said. "I knew I had a very small chance going nine, and coming out in the middle of an inning -- you always want to finish strong. And if a couple pitches were made, then it could have been a different story."
Instead, the story shifted to Bromberg, who took a no-hitter into the fifth. He struck out seven, walked four and held Reading to one hit over six frames but did not factor in the decision. Lester Oliveros (1-1) worked two hitless frames for his first win before Daniel Turpen allowed a run in the ninth.
"It's always fun," May said of the duel. "It's definitely something where you get a little adrenaline going, kind of get a little excitement going, get some pressure on the other guy. In the end, he came out on top, but it was definitely a lot of fun and it always is in a pitchers' battle."
May, the Phillies' 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, lowered his ERA to 2.83 and has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in five of his seven starts this season. Also the Eastern League Pitcher of the Month for April, he has 45 strikeouts and 16 walks over 41 1/3 innings.
The 6-foot-5 righty led all Eastern League pitchers in wins (5) and strikeouts (33) last month. He also finished April among the league leaders in WHIP (0.97, tied for third), innings pitched (30, tied for fifth) and batting average against (.196, seventh) while becoming the first Eastern Leaguer to enjoy a 5-0 April since Bowie's Chris Waters in 2008.
"Yeah, I feel like all my pitches are coming along. I'm taking steps in the right direction, getting better every day," he said. "And that's all I can do. I'm definitely happy with how I responded in some situations tonight."