Hunter Wood is not afraid to admit that he expects a lot out of himself. So it wasn't much of a surprise when he admitted a little letdown after surrendering his first hit more than five innings into his start on Saturday night.
Wood allowed one single over six scoreless innings as Double-A Montgomery defeated Tennessee, 3-1, at Smokies Stadium.
Charcer Burks ended Wood's no-hit bid when he laced a liner into left field with one out in the sixth.
"I have high expectations for myself and that includes going out and putting up zeros every single time out," Wood said. "I looked up in the fourth inning and noticed [the no-hitter], but I was trying not to think too much about it. I was worrying about one pitch at a time."
Gameday box score
It was a turnaround for the Rays No. 27 prospect, who had allowed 11 runs and 14 hits in his last 9 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old struck out six and walked two while throwing a season-high 98-pitches.
"I went in with a certain game plan, and that included throwing more curves and off-speed," the Rogers, Arkansas, native said. "I really didn't have a feel for my off-speed stuff the last few outings. If all you have is your fastball, you're gonna get hit. I threw about four curveballs in my last start and those came out feeling good, so I told [catcher Mac James] I wanted to mix in a few more tonight. He called a great game."
Video: Montgomery's Wood strikes out sixth batter
Wood (3-2) retired the first 10 batters he faced until he found some minor trouble in the fourth. With one out, Cubs No. 25 prospect Jacob Hannemann walked and stole second. Wood fanned Ian Rice and issued his second walk of the frame to Yasiel Balaguert. He escaped further damage by getting Jason Vosler to pop out to third.
The Howard College product kept his no-hitter intact with a 12-pitch fifth and retired the first batter in the sixth before Burks ended it. Wood then got Hannemann to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Video: Tennessee's Burks singles to break up the no-no
The six one-hit frames represented Wood's best start since last June 23, when he held Biloxi hitless over six innings.
"There was a little letdown with the hit, but at the same time we had the lead," Wood said. "I'm out there to toss up zeros, whether they have any hits or not. I knew it was a tight game, so I didn't want to focus on the hit and potentially cost me a run. I really needed to focus to having a purpose with every pitch. Whenever you're in a tight game like that, you really need to focus on every single pitch.
"Getting that double play was huge at that point. When he got the hit, I laughed and turned to my shortstop [Andrew Velazquez], and he said 'Let's roll it.' The next pitch was right to him up the middle, he stepped on second and got it done."
Justin O'Conner opened the scoring with a solo homer and added an RBI double in the ninth, while Grant Kay doubled twice and drove in a run for Montgomery.
Starter Jen-Ho Tseng (3-1) went a season-high seven innings for Tennessee, and allowed a run on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts.