Montas carries no-hit bid into seventh

Dash righty fans career-high 11 batters against former organization

Frank Montas was 3-18 in the Red Sox organization before last July's trade to the White Sox. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com | May 22, 2014 11:15 PM

When the dust settled after July's trade deadline, Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy was leaving Chicago and heading to Boston, Avisail Garcia was packing up his apartment in Detroit and preparing for a new life on the South Side with the White Sox and Jose Iglesias was saying his Fenway Park goodbyes before starting a new chapter of his young career with the Tigers.

But the three-team, seven-player deal also included a trio of Red Sox Minor Leaguers going to the White Sox. In many reports, the news regarding this threesome was relegated to the lower paragraphs.

On Thursday, the oldest of those three Minor Leagues had the headlines all to himself.

Frank Montas (2-0) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished with 11 strikeouts over eight innings -- both career highs -- in the Class A Winston-Salem Dash's 6-3 win over the host Salem Red Sox.

"I have never pitched better than this," said Montas, who said the performance was even more special coming against his former employers. "This is the best one in my career."

Part of the package that also sent infielder Cleuluis Rondon and pitcher Jeffrey Wendelken to Chicago, Montas was perfect in the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings. His only blemish through the first six frames was a two-out walk to Bo Greenwell in the third.

After striking out Jonathan Roof to lead off the seventh, Reed Gragnani broke up the no-hit bid with a double to left field. Mario Martinez followed with an RBI single to center, but Montas induced an inning-ending ground ball from Kevin Heller to escape with a 4-1 lead.

"Fastball outside and Gragnani punched it down the left-field line," said Montas, who lowered his ERA to 1.54 and increased his Carolina League strikeout-to-walk ratio to 26:4.

He retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out his final two batters of the evening. It marked the first time the 21-year-old native of the Dominican Republic recorded double-digit punchouts since turning pro. His previous best was nine, achieved twice, both with Class A Kannapolis last year.

"Around the seventh inning was when I realized what I had going on," said Montas, who didn't need more than 14 pitches in any inning. "I just tried to throw the ball for strikes and keep the ball in the zone. My slider was really good tonight and my curveball was good. I just threw them for strikes. I used my fastball, but I used a lot of sliders and that made my fastball better."

Originally signed by Boston as a non-drafted free agent in 2009, Montas was 0-3 with a 9.55 ERA in a dozen appearances in the Dominican Summer League in his rookie year in 2010 and he was 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in five starts spanning a combined 12 2/3 innings the following year.

Montas progressed to the Red Sox's Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2012, when he went 1-5 in 12 outings and he made one New York-Penn League start with short-season Lowell at the end of the season. Last year, he went a combined 5-11 with a 5.43 ERA in the South Atlantic League between Greenville and Kannapolis.

On Thursday, Jose Bautista allowed two runs on a hit and two walks without recording an out for the Dash, but Euclides Leyer worked around a ninth-inning work to complete the victory and earn his second save of the year.

Second baseman Joey DeMichele, designated hitter Nick Basto and catcher Mike Marjama all homered for the Dash.

Salem starter Pat Light (1-2) surrendered four runs on four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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