Rainiers' Carraway flirts with no-hitter

M's prospect loses bid on one-out single in seventh inning

By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com | April 26, 2013 10:25 PM ET

When news broke Friday that Mariners No. 2 prospect Danny Hultzen likely will miss two weeks with a left rotator cuff strain and tendinitis, the focus on social media was mostly on how it would delay what some thought would be the southpaw's pending Major League debut.

Left to pick up the pieces was the Tacoma pitching staff. A case in point -- five relievers, led by emergency starter Andrew Kittredge, took the mound Thursday in a 13-12 win over Las Vegas.

On Friday night, starter Andrew Carraway knew what needed to be done.

"In the short term, [Hultzen's absence] was on my mind," he said. "Before the game, I wanted to put extra emphasis on getting deep into the game to save the bullpen as best I can. Obviously, that's not always how it works. I could be crushed for six runs even when I'm thinking about that, but yes, I did have it on my mind."

Luckily for Carraway and the Rainiers staff, he did an impeccable job of accomplishing that goal.

The 26-year-old right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a pair of singles. He finished with five strikeouts and a walk over seven shutout frames in Tacoma's 10-1 romp over the Las Vegas 51s.

"My catcher, Mike Zunino, and I came in with a solid plan tonight and executed it really well," Carraway said. "We were trying to work both sides of the plate and because we were coming up against a good-hitting team, we were focused on changing speeds as much as possible. They were looking for the outside fastball a lot, so we threw a lot of changeups and went back and forth with the fastball and changeup a lot.

"We were on the same page all night, but it always helps when some of the balls they hit right at guys, too."

After issuing a one-out walk to Zach Lutz in the second, Carraway, who also brandished a curveball, retired 14 batters in a row to maintain the no-hitter through six. He had some help to close out the sixth as Alex Liddi came charging in from third base to barehand a bouncer and throw out Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

"At that point, I could really feel the effort everyone was putting in to keep this thing going," the right-hander said.

Carraway got Reese Havens to fly out to center field to open the seventh before Josh Satin singled to break up the no-no. Andrew Brown added a base hit two pitches later, but Carraway managed to strand both runners by retiring Lutz and Jamie Hoffmann.

As good as his final pitching line was, Carraway (3-1) couldn't help but look back at the pair of singles.

"I was a little disappointed. I mean, I kind of had to be," the University of Virginia product said. "But it was definitely a fun game to be a part of and I'm glad I got to have that experience today. It was the most fun you can have in a game, and everyone played a part. It was just a fun team win."

Carraway's outing was even more impressive, given the fact that the Pacific Coast League was batting .352 against him in his first four starts. That figure dropped to .298 after Friday's gem. He's won his last three starts while lowering his ERA to 3.38 and his WHIP to 1.40.

With Hultzen out for two weeks, Carraway will need to string together a few more quality outings to keep the Rainiers going. And that's a challenge he seems more than willing to take on.

"First off, I'm feeling for Danny," he said. "We're pretty close and I know he wants to be out there and competing every fifth day. It's tough for him, definitely. As for the short term, the team is going to rely on the starting staff to hold down the fort a little bit. Over the long term, as good a pitcher as Danny is, it's going to take a hit if he's not here. So we do know what's kind of at stake here."

On the offensive side, Rich Poythress -- playing in his first game since April 18 -- went 4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs.

"He's an RBI machine," Carraway said. "We played together in the California League [with High Desert in 2010]. It's amazing what he does when he gets into an RBI rhythm like that. When you have offensive guys who can put up big numbers like that, it changes the tone of the game."

Sam Dykstra 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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