Orioles right-handed prospect Parker Bridwell must have upset Tony Renda in a previous life, because for the second time in three months, the infielder spoiled his chance at a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
On Monday night, just like back in May, Renda was there to ruin Bridwell's fun again. And Bridwell isn't one to forget these things easily.
Baltimore's No. 12 prospect carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and allowed one hit while striking out 13 batters over eight innings in the Class A Advanced Frederick Keys' 6-0 win over the Potomac Nationals.
"The game was just a big blur, honestly," Bridwell said. "It was one of those nights where everything was working. I happened to look up one inning and it was already in the seventh. Sometimes you don't realize how far you are into it.
"It's up there, it might be No. 1, just because of my stuff and my command. It's either 1 or 2. It was fun."
The 23-year-old struck out the side in the second and fourth innings, fanned two in both the fifth and seventh and had one more punchout in the first, third and sixth.
But he lost his bid for perfection in the seventh when Renda, the 20th batter of the game, stroked a clean base hit to right field.
"It was just a good piece of hitting," Bridwell admitted. "Tony is a really good hitter and he gets to a lot of pitches. I made a good pitch and he did exactly what he should do with it."
It's not the first time the Hereford, Texas native has come close to writing his name into Orioles folklore.
Last June, he carried a one-hit shutout into the ninth. Then on May 13, Bridwell took a no-hitter into the ninth only for Renda, ranked 18th among Nationals prospects, to break that up too.
"Oh yeah, I remember," Bridwell laughed. "I came in the dugout tonight and said, 'I can't get him out when I need to.' I wasn't going for the no-hitter tonight, I just wanted to give my team a chance to win.
"[Perfect games and no-hitters] don't happen that often. So when it gets broken up, it sticks in the back of your head. I don't really think about most games, but years down the road, I will remember this because I was perfect through six and gave up a hit. I'll remember that it was him again. I've not done much to upset him, not that I know of. Maybe I struck him out once, but I definitely think he's even now."
Selected by the Orioles in the ninth round of the 2010 Draft, Bridwell, who fell one strikeout shy of a career best, snapped a string of three consecutive losses to pick up his first win in seven starts dating back to July 18.
"There was not much going wrong," said Bridwell, now in his fifth year of pro ball. "My slider and changeup I threw for strikes when I needed to. My fastball had some really good downward plane to it and I felt good. When I throw off-speed pitches for strikes with the second or third pitch in an at-bat, it gets them off balance.
"If I get hit hard or have a bad outing, I don't get down about it. You can't get down about one bad game. There have been focus issues before. Not tonight. Sometimes it just snowballs."
Brady Wager replaced Bridwell in the ninth. He loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and a hit batsman, but struck out Estarlin Martinez to seal the shutout.
Frederick catcher Wynston Sawyer went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI and shortstop Jerome Pena added two hits and a pair of runs.
Potomac starter Brian Rauh (2-3) allowed six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings.