Poreda pours it on for Barons

Former first-rounder tosses rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter

Aaron Poreda is 2-3 with a 1.65 ERA after five starts with the Barons this year. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By John Torenli / Special to MLB.com | May 4, 2009 5:57 PM ET

As far as no-hitters go, this one was hardly the type that ends with the pitcher jumping into his catcher's arms before getting swarmed by his teammates.

Aaron Poreda will take it, just the same.

The former first-round pick struck out eight and walked five over five hitless innings Monday as the Birmingham Barons blanked the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, 3-0, in front of 1,795 wet fans at Regions Park.

"It feels awesome," Poreda said. "I haven't thrown one since high school and it's quite a feeling. For me personally, it wouldn't be as nice as it would if I had pitched all nine innings, but on the scoreboard it says complete-game no-hitter. You just have to appreciate it because it doesn't happen very often."

Selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 25th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Poreda (2-3) admittedly had to work hard for his achievement, escaping numerous jams en route to his first professional no-no.

After walking Ezequiel Carrera with one out in the opening frame, the 6-foot-6 left-hander from Walnut Creek, Calif., got some assistance from catcher Tyler Flowers, who gunned down Carrera trying to swipe second. Poreda fanned Greg Halman to end the inning before working around walks in each of the next two frames.

In the fourth, Poreda hit Adam Moore with one out and issued a two-out walk to Brent Johnson, but caught Yamid Head looking at a called third strike. He walked Oswaldo Navarro with one out in the fifth before fanning Mel Stocker and getting Carrera on a grounder to first.

"I knew that today I didn't have my best command of all my pitches, but I really wanted to go out there and battle and compete," said Poreda, who was two starts removed from striking out 11 over seven scoreless innings against Jacksonville on April 23. "I stayed strong and battled through it."

The Barons didn't get to bat in the bottom of the frame, but had already provided their ace with the winning margin on Flowers' RBI single and a two-run double by Dayan Viciedo in the first.

After a 91-minute rain delay, Poreda got the good news in the locker room.

"In the clubhouse, when we heard it over the loudspeaker, we had to celebrate a little because that's what everyone does," he said. "My teammates were very happy for me."

Poreda pitched at two levels last season, going 5-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 12 starts at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem before posting a 3-4 mark with a 2.98 ERA in 15 outings for the Barons.

The University of San Francisco product has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his five starts this year, and lowered his ERA to 1.65 with his latest gem.

Poreda credited his change of speeds for his success Monday night, and he is hoping his versatility on the mound results in success at the next level.

"It gives some more confidence," he said. "I have a better command of my off-speed stuff, throwing it with two strikes. I'm really going to need an out pitch if I get called up. It keeps it in the backs of the hitters' minds [that you can change speeds]. That makes your fastball much better."

Though he still enjoys thinking back to the no-hitter he tossed at Campolindo High School in Moraga, Calif., Poreda did acknowledge that this one was significantly more difficult.

"I think in high school, it might have been a little bit better because I got to celebrate on the field and got Gatorade poured on me," he recalled. "But this is professional baseball, so it means a lot."

John Torenli 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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