Yunesky Maya was inches away from International League history on Friday night.
The Nationals farmhand retired his first 20 batters and allowed just one hit -- a solo homer -- over eight innings as the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs edged the Rochester Red Wings, 2-1, at Frontier Field.
Maya (8-8) struck out five and was perfect until Chris Parmelee sent a 2-1 pitch over the right-field fence with two outs in the seventh. The ball barely eluded leaping right fielder Brett Carroll.
The 30-year-old right-hander set down the next four Red Wings and threw 95 pitches before exiting with knee soreness.
"He was just outstanding," Chiefs manager Tony Beasley said. "He had all his pitches working. He was painting a perfect picture of how you'd want a pitcher to go about attacking hitters and getting them out. The results were good."
"He really changed speeds well," Rochester manager Gene Glynn said. "He managed all his pitches. I think he was using four tonight -- two-seamer, four-seamer, a split, he had a nice slider at times. He just did a heckuva job."
There have been only five perfect games in IL history, with Columbus' Justin Germano pitching the most recent one on July 26, 2011 at Syracuse.
"Tonight was just one of those special nights," Beasley said. "I thought he had a legitimate chance. After he got to the seventh, I thought, 'He needs nine outs, he's got a shot.' He was getting quick outs and was getting them easy. Parmalee got the home run, but he's been swinging the bat really good. Every time he came up, I got nervous."
Maya had struggled this month, entering Friday's game with a 5.55 ERA and .316 opponents' average in four July starts. Overall, the Cuba-born hurler has a 3.76 ERA and 66 strikeouts over 127 innings.
"He's been pitching well. He's had an inning or two mid- to late-game where it would blow up on him, but overall, he's pitched well," Beasley said. "He's been consistent. He's just had an unfortunate inning. He's been pitching close ballgames all year long. He's been throwing the ball real well for us. "
Maya signed with the Nationals on July 31, 2010 and made five Minor League appearances before debuting with Washington on Sept. 7. He went 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in five big league starts, then returned to Syracuse to begin the 2011 season. He was 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 games, including five starts, over three stints with the Nats last year.
Christian Garcia fanned two in a perfect ninth to notch his fifth save for the Chiefs.
Chad Tracy was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Jarrett Hoffpauir singled home a run for Syracuse. Eury Perez, the Nationals' No. 5 prospect, also had two hits and scored a run in his seventh game following a promotion from Double-A Harrisburg.
Red Wings starter Jeff Manship fell to 6-2, despite allowing two runs on six hits over six innings.