Todd Redmond knows the unwritten rules, but he's too nice to cast any blame.
Redmond (2-1) struck out a season-high seven batters and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Gwinnett Braves beat the visiting Syracuse Chiefs, 4-1, on Monday.
The 23-year-old righty cruised through five perfect innings, but was admittedly unaware he was throwing a no-hitter until walking back to the dugout after the fifth.
Then the most infamous of baseball superstitions was broken.
"The only reason I was aware of the no-hitter was because people in the stands were yelling down at me, 'Hey Todd, throw a no-hitter,'" Redmond said. "It didn't bother me one bit, at least at that point."
An inning -- and a soft single to left field -- later, the perfect game was gone. Redmond kept with it, though, throwing 100 pitches and allowing three hits without any walks over eight sharp innings for his second win.
Spoiled no-hitter aside, it was a great outing for the native of St. Petersburg, Fla. Redmond, who turns 24 on May 17, credited his strikeouts and success to the heater.
"I was just throwing my fastball, getting ahead of hitters and being able to locate my pitches, a split, a slider and fastball," said Redmond, the Double-A Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher last season. "I was getting ahead of hitters and commanding the zone."
Redmond went 13-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 28 outings as an All-Star for Double-A Mississippi last season. He was a two-time Pitcher of the Week there, good enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A this spring.
"They helped me out a lot, swinging early in the counts, popping up pitches, getting ground balls," said Redmond, who threw 61 strikes Monday. "I told my coach I wanted to go back out and finish the game, but he said no. I was at 100 pitches, so I can't argue with him."
Redmond, who throws between 87-91 mph, has given up just three earned runs in his last 18 innings over three starts in the International League.
"The hitters are little better, just about all of them have been in the big leagues at some point," he said. "There's not a lot of young guys, and everyone looks for that one mistake pitch."
Redmond's only "mistake" came in the sixth, when he jammed Alberto Gonzalez with a one-out pitch to lose the perfect game.
"It was just out of the shortstop's reach," said Redmond. "It was a splitter that was down and in, and he just got enough of it. It was one of those dink hits that usually breaks it up."
Regardless, he was pleased with the outcome.
"I was very happy," said Redmond, who didn't walk a batter for the first time this season. "I try not to walk people, free bases kill you. And I looked at the chart when I was done, I didn't even realize I had [seven strikeouts]."
Redmond said he hopes Atlanta will give him a look later this season, as a starter or out of the bullpen.
"They haven't said anything to me, but whatever it takes, I'll do it," he said. "The goal is to be in Atlanta by the end of the year. But you can't really set that goal, it's not up to you."