He's only two starts into his Triple-A career, but Rudy Owens has emerged as the stopper for the Indianapolis Indians.
Owens took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and outdueled rehabbing Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto on Saturday afternoon as the Indians beat the Louisville Bats, 7-1, to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Pirates' two-time Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Owens also got the win in his International League debut on April 11 as Indianapolis halted a season-opening four-game slide. He was even better against a Louisville team that had won eight in a row.
"He is very effective," Indians second baseman Brian Friday said. "He knows how to pitch. He mixes things up and throws for strikes. Any guy that can do that is tough. He is impressive."
After a perfect opening inning, Owens (2-0) ran into trouble in the second. He issued a leadoff walk to Todd Frazier and hit Danny Dorn with two outs before getting Chris Valaika to ground out.
The Bats threatened again in the fourth as Valaika drew a one-out walk and throwing errors by third baseman Josh Harrison and Friday on the same play put runners at second and third. But Owens retired Dave Sappelt on a foul pop and got Zack Cozart to ground out.
The 23-year-old left-hander lost his no-hit bid when Yonder Alonso, MLB.com's No. 49 prospect, singled leading off the sixth. Owens got Hermida to bounce into an inning-ending double play but wasn't as fortunate in the seventh, when Devin Mesoraco, MLB.com's No. 45 prospect hit a leadoff double and scored on Valaika's one-out single.
Owens was relieved by Tony Watson and was charged with a run on three hits over 6 1/3 frames. He walked two, fanned three and threw 61 of 88 pitches for strikes.
Cueto, working his way back from mild inflammation in his right shoulder, allowed two runs -- one earned -- on two hits and two walks while striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. He left after throwing 32 of 55 pitches for strikes.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.