Wyatt Marks may not have gone as far in Thursday's outing for the Class A Snappers as he wanted to, but he was still unhittable in his 21st career start.
Oakland's No. 23 prospect hurled six hitless innings, striking out five and walking five, and Beloit held on for a 2-1 win over Quad Cities at Modern Woodmen Park.
Marks and reliever Seth Martinez combined for 7 1/3 hitless frames before Alfredo Angarita singled to left field for the River Bandits' first knock of the game.
Video: Beloit's Marks with the K during six-hitless
Knowing his pitch count was higher due to early walks and deep counts, the Louisiana native had no illusions he was going to be able to finish what he started. In fact, he didn't even realize what he had done until he came out of the game.
"Honestly, I wasn't really paying attention [to the no-hitter] at that point," Marks said. "I was out there trying to stay focused and to keep making my pitches. My slider wasn't really working well early on and that caused some issues, but it came back to me a bit later."
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The right-hander worked around a pair of two-out walks to Miguelangel Sierra and Logan Mattix in the first inning. Marks struck out two in a perfect second, but issued consecutive free passes to Astros 2018 first-rounder Seth Beer and Angarita in the third. He fanned two more in a clean fourth and another in a 1-2-3 fifth. Marks walked Beer for a second time in the sixth and finished his outing by retiring the final two batters of the inning. The 23-year-old tossed 51 of his 89 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 3.89.
"Those early walks obviously drove my pitch count up," Marks said. "I switched over later to my fastball and change when I finally realized [the slider] wasn't really there. But I just wanted to focus on making my pitch and letting the defense work behind me. They saved me a few times tonight, as they usually do.
"It's great pitching in close games too. It increases your focus and it's a lot more fun to pitch in situations like that than in blowouts."
Video: Quad Citie's Angarita singles to bust it up
Marks' performance represented the first time in 29 Minor League appearances he has held the opposition without a hit. The six innings were one shy of the career-high seven he tossed against Peoria on June 14. Thursday's outing marked his third scoreless start this season and second in four outings. It's been a learning experience for Oakland's 13th-round selection in last year's Draft, who is in the midst of his first full-season campaign.
"You're out there throwing every five days, so you're going to have some good starts and some bad ones," Marks said. "You need to learn from all of them. If you get yanked in the first, you flush it and then get back at it the next day. It's the same thing if you have a good start. You can enjoy it for the night, but the next day, it's back to work. Stay humble and keep grinding."
Martinez (2-1) kept Quad Cities hitless into the eighth before Angarita's single broke up Beloit's potential second combined no-hitter of the season. Bryce Conley and two relievers threw the club's sixth no-hitter against Burlington on April 12.
Nick Highberger earned his second save after allowing a run on two walks and a hit in the ninth.
Ryan Gridley's two-out double in the eighth snapped a scoreless tie and Mickey McDonald provided an insurance run with a solo homer in the ninth, his first of the season.
Quad Cities starter Chad Donato scattered five hits and two walks while striking out six over five shutout innings. Brendan Feldmann (0-1) struck out three, but allowed an unearned run on two hits in the eighth.
Sierra scored the River Bandits' lone run in the ninth on a passed ball by Snappers catcher Jordan Devencenzi.