Yefrey Ramirez has looked very good at times this season. On Wednesday, he looked like he was in a whole other world.
The right-handed Yankees prospect took a perfect-game bid into the seventh inning and a no-hitter into the eighth as Class A Advanced Tampa beat Dunedin, 2-0, on Wednesday. It marked the second time in less than a week that a Yankees starter retired the first 19 in a row, following Nestor Cortes' outing last Friday.
Ramirez dominated the lineup, not letting a runner aboard until he hit Dickie Joe Thon with a pitch with one out in the seventh. The 22-year-old right-hander kept the Blue Jays out of the hit column until the eighth, when Toronto's No. 28 prospect Ryan McBroom singled to open the frame. McBroom was erased when Jonathan Davis hit into a 6-4-3 double play, and Ramirez exited after the eighth, having faced the minimum with one hit allowed and eight strikeouts.
"He threw a really good bullpen and that doesn't always mean much," Tampa pitching coach Tim Norton said. "It looked like he really had a good feeling about what he was doing. He was sharp right from the get-go. He threw a lot of strikes. His slider was going good. He was just doing a good job of mixing it up and being aggressive with that fastball. His pitch count was down and he was getting quick outs.
"It was a good down-and-away fastball. It was a 1-1 count and [McBroom] hit a little one-hopper on the third-base side. It was in that perfect area where there needs to be one helluva play made. It was just in a perfect spot, there was nothing you could do about it."
The Dominican Republic native was incredibly efficient despite the high whiff total, throwing 56 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
"He had 56 pitches after six," Norton said. "The funny thing about it is he was punching people out too. Usually when you're striking guys out, that pitch count climbs. He was doing a good job of striking guys out within three or four pitches. He mixed in a few first-pitch outs and forced contact the other times within a few pitches. That's always a recipe for success."
Promoted to the Florida State League on June 30, Ramirez has been sharp for the Yankees, going 3-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts. The 6-foot-2 hurler has recorded 58 strikeouts over 58 1/3 innings while holding hitters to a .158 batting average.
"He has been consistent ever since he came here," Norton said. "I think he had one bad outing where he threw the ball well. Execution-wise, it just didn't work out for him. He's steady. He throws strikes, very few times where he's given up a few free passes. Good feel for his secondary pitches, slider and changeup, can throw them for strikes at any time. If he does lose feel for them, it won't be long before he gets them back. He's got a lot of pitchability."
Overall, Ramirez ranks second among Yankees' Minor Leaguers with 124 strikeouts and sports a 2.86 ERA in 21 starts between Class A Charleston and Tampa.
Dillon McNamara notched his team-leading 12th save after allowing one hit in the ninth for the Yankees.
New York's No. 2 prospect Gleyber Torres tripled home Tampa's first run in the eighth and then scored on a single by Connor Spencer. Wes Wilson followed with an RBI single.
Justin Shafer allowed three hits and three walks while fanning three over six innings, but did not factor into the decision for Dunedin.