Wilmington's Ridings toward victory

Royals prospect flirts with no-hitter in longest outing of career

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com | August 12, 2012 1:22 PM ET

After receiving normal post-start treatment on his surgically repaired right arm, Matt Ridings wasn't dwelling on the career-high seven scoreless innings he just completed on Sunday afternoon in Wilmington, Del.

"I didn't know that was truly a high," he said. "I'll be getting more innings, I guess."

The Royals prospect took his fifth turn in the rotation and carried a no-hit bid into the sixth Sunday as the Class A Advanced Blue Rocks blanked the visiting Salem Red Sox, 5-0.

Ridings (5-1) gave up three hits and a plunked batter. He had retired nine straight when Red Sox third baseman James Kang led off the sixth with an infield single.

"I threw a curve, got a ground ball to third. Cheslor Cuthbert backhanded it and made a nice play but tripped over the base," Ridings said. "He knew the situation and he tried to make a throw.

"I realized it, but it was a close game, 2-0, and I was just trying to get outs."

With less than 24 hours notice that he was actually starting, the 24-year-old right-hander recorded 21 outs (two more than his career high), three on strikes and 10 on groundouts. For the latter, he credited the resurgence of his two-seam fastball, which he employed more often as a collegian but less so as a pro.

"I was keeping ball down and getting ahead early," said Ridings, who still mainly uses his four-seam fastball, to go with the curveball (his lone plus offering) and the changeup. "And our defense made some really nice plays. [Luis] Peterson, our shortstop, saved at least two or three hits. [With two outs] in the second inning, he made a great diving stop."

Ridings, who required Tommy John surgery late in his senior season at Western Kentucky University, fell to the 41st round in the 2010 Draft. He made 13 Appalachian League starts in 2011 -- all on a strict pitch count -- and began this season in the bullpen for Class A Kane County. In 21 appearances for the Cougars, he compiled a 2.43 ERA and a 39-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Those results prompted his June 22 promotion to the Blue Rocks.

In 10 Carolina League games -- five of the last six have been starts -- he has a 2.63 ERA. Opponents are batting .189 against him.

"I'm not sure [about] the plan, to be honest," he said. "I was OK with the 'pen. I got here, we had a couple injuries and promotions and next thing I know, I'm starting again, which is what I have been doing my whole life."

Making his Class A Advanced debut, Red Sox starter Michael McCarthy (0-1) gave up two runs on six hits, including Murray's Watts fifth-inning solo homer -- over 5 1/3 frames. He walked two and struck out five.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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