Chris Tillman fired Norfolk's first nine-inning no-hitter since 1992, blanking Gwinnett 6-0 Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old struck out six and walked one, firing 63 of his 105 pitches for strikes. It was the first nine-inning no-hitter for Norfolk since Dave Telgheder turned the trick on May 15, 1992 vs. Pawtucket.
The only trouble Tillman ran into came in the fifth inning, as Brent Clevlan worked a leadoff walk but was retired one batter later on a ground ball double play off the bat of Mitch Jones. Joe Thurston then grounded a sharp ball that hit off the glove of first baseman Michael Aubrey for an error, but Tillman escaped any damage by striking out Wes Timmons to end the frame.
Tillman then retired each of the final 12 Braves he faced, the last of which was Matt Young, who grounded out to Robert Andino to cap off Tillman's gem.
The shutout and complete game were the first in Tillman's career, and he set his career-high with nine innings pitched just one outing after he had set his previous career-high of eight innings pitched in a victory at Charlotte on April 23.
Tillman (2-3) lowered his ERA to 4.05 with the win.
Jeff Salazar had two hits and two RBI to lead the offense, while Joey Gathright added two hits and a run scored.
QUOTES FROM TILLMAN
Ranking this among career highlight:
"It's high up there, I think this may be number one. I had one other game where I came pretty close, but nothing to this extent. I think getting called up to the big leagues was definitely a huge thing last year and that probably sticks out more to me as that has been my goal my whole life. This is what I'm here for, just trying to get back there."
"My team did a great job behind me. Early in the game there was a great play in center field and the catcher did a great job with some of the pitches - we were on the same page for the most part."
On his mindset:
"I was just working on things here. I was working on my fast ball command, on that cutter, on throwing that curve ball for strikes. I think it all fell together tonight."
"I didn't realize what was going on until about the 5th or 6th inning. Once I realized what was happening, I started noticing everyone scooting down on the bench and no one would sit next to me."
On the pressure:
"My team did a good job of keeping me upbeat. The whole game my team kept joking around with me and I think that helped make it easier."
On the team rushing out postgame
"I didn't think they were going to do that. It was real cool to have those guys behind my back. It's a good feeling - especially with the guys I've been with for awhile."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.