Pitching at Perfect Game Field on Tuesday, Jake Odorizzi didn't throw one, but he came awfully close.
Odorizzi matched career highs with 10 strikeouts over eight innings and Adrian Rosario fanned two in the ninth inning to seal the no-hitter as Class A Wisconsin blanked Cedar Rapids, 3-0.
The Brewers' first-round pick in 2008, Odorizzi faced just three batters over the minimum. After a leadoff fielding error by second baseman Connor Lind in the second inning, the right-hander retired the next eight in order. Odorizzi walked a batter, hit another and did not allow a runner to reach second base.
"Everything was working," he said. "Everything clicked, I could throw anything in any count, it's nice to have that when it comes around."
Odorizzi ended his night by striking out Terrell Alliman after an 11-pitch at-bat. In doing so, he matched the career high in strikeouts he set during the Timber Rattlers' June 26 11-7 victory over Burlington.
"It was pretty satisfying (ending it with a strikeout)," he said. "I was throwing a lot of fastballs, because if he was going to get a hit, I wanted him to earn it. He really battled, hats off to him."
The 20-year-old, who also throws a slider, curveball and a changeup, had struggled in his previous start Aug. 16. He allowed six runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-10 loss, also against Cedar Rapids.
"I knew it was going to be the last time I would face these guys this year. I wanted to come out and have a good outing, but I never imagined it would be this good," Odorizzi said.
It was the fourth no-hitter in the Midwest League in 2010. It was the third such Timber Rattlers' feat, and the first since Derrick Van Dusen did so against Cedar Rapids on Aug. 27, 2001.
Odorizzi and Wisconsin came close to a no-hitter earlier this season. After pitching five hitless innings against Burlington on April 16, Odorizzi watched Timber Rattlers reliever Damon Krestalude surrender a double with two outs in the ninth.
"It does (feel sweet) to finally complete it this time," Odorizzi said. "Last time it was a heartbreaker, losing it with two outs in the ninth. This time, watching the ninth inning go by, I had a good feeling. It meant a lot to the whole team."
The Illinois native, who has never thrown a complete game in three seasons as a pro, tried to convince Wisconsin coaches to let him pitch the ninth.
"I did my best lobbying act, tried everything I could think of. But I was about 120 pitches into it, and they said, 'No more, your career is more important,'" Odorizzi said. "I just had to go with it and respect their decisions and take the congratulations from everyone."
The game remained scoreless until the fifth, when Timber Rattlers right fielder Kentrail Davis hit a bases-loaded fielder's choice that plated Michael Marseco. Joe Paciorek squeezed in a run and D'Vontrey Richarson added an RBI single in the sixth.