Pomeranz, Sky Sox flirt with no-hitter

Rockies prospect overcomes illness in best start as a pro

Drew Pomeranz has fanned 46 batters over 45 1/3 innings. (Paat Kelly)

By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com | June 19, 2012 9:44 PM ET

Coming off arguably his worst outing as a pro, Drew Pomeranz fought off flu-like symptoms, bounced back and almost made history.

MLB.com's No. 19 prospect issued three walks over six innings Tuesday as Triple-A Colorado Springs fell two outs shy of the fifth no-hitter in team history, settling for an 8-2 win over Salt Lake.

Luis Jimenez broke up the Sky Sox's no-hit bid with one out in the ninth, blooping an RBI single to right field off reliever Zach Putnam.

"I was fighting back not [throwing up] the whole game. I just felt sick," Pomeranz said. "I tried to relax out there and hold down [vomit] the whole time. It might have taken my mind off things. I know there have been games in my life when I've not felt my best, like the time I had flu in high school, but not as a pro. This was strange.

"My stomach was hurting all night, and in the fifth inning it started to get to me and I felt exhausted. I felt sick the whole day, I'm not really sure why. It was a body ache, almost like flu symptoms, but I wasn't running a temperature."

Pomeranz (3-4) recorded eight strikeouts, one short of a career high, and lowered his ERA to 2.61 through eight Pacific Coast League starts. The win was his first in six outings since May 18.

The 23-year-old left-hander was rocked for a season-high eight runs -- six earned -- on a career-high 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings in his last start on June 13. Against the Bees, however, he struck out the side in the third inning and retired his first 12 batters.

In the fifth, Pomeranz issued consecutive walks to Jimenez and Hank Conger before a throwing error by first baseman Matt McBride loaded the bases. But the Major League veteran struck out Matt Long and got Alberto Rosario to bounce into an inning-ending double play to keep the no-hitter going.

Ed Lucas drew a two-out walk in the sixth against Colorado's No. 2 prospect, but he was stranded when Ryan Langerhans flied out to left field to end the inning.

"My arm felt good. I had some of my velocity back again and I was throwing my fastball where I wanted," said Pomeranz, who threw 62 of 103 pitches for strikes and faced three batters over the minimum.

"My fastball topped out at 95 mph and was constantly between 90-95, which is the hardest I've thrown for a while. I don't know if it was because I felt crappy, but I could put the ball where I wanted and I was staying in good counts."

Mike Ekstrom came on in the seventh and pitched a perfect inning and Putnam followed with a 1-2-3 eighth to leave the Sky Sox three outs away from history.

Kole Calhoun, the Angels' No. 13 prospect, reached second base on center fielder Tim Wheeler's dropped fly ball to open the ninth and took third on a wild pitch as Adam Heether drew a one-out walk.

Jimenez then flaired a single to right to break up the no-hitter and the shutout. Hank Conger delivered a run-scoring single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.

Dustin Molleken replaced Putnam and needed only two pitches to end it, getting Efren Navarro to roll into a double play.

"It's baseball. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," said Pomeranz, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 Draft out of the University of Mississippi. "I don't know if I've ever had one; this might have been the first one."

Acquired by the Rockies in the deal that sent right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland at the trade deadline last July, Pomeranz went 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in five starts with the Rockies this season. In 2011, he was 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four big league appearances.

"I think [the Rockies] just wanted me to be more consistent with my delivery," said Pomeranz, who grabbed some ice and tried to rehydrate in the clubhouse. "That is what they want to see. I'm just starting to figure out some things down here with my mechanics and my body and getting back to how I used to throw. I got a little more of a turn and I picked my leg up a little higher. That gives me more time [in my delivery]."

The most recent of the Sky Sox's four no-hitters came on Aug. 18, 2009, when Jhoulys Chacin combined with Joel Peralta, Juan Rincon and Randy Flores on a 5-0 win over Oklahoma City.

Hernan Iribarren went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored and Andrew Brown collected two hits and drove in two runs for the Sky Sox.

Wheeler, the Rockies' sixth-ranked prospect, was 3-for-4 with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.

Salt Lake starter Matt Shoemaker (5-7) took the loss after surrendering seven runs on 12 hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five but had his ERA climb to 5.74.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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