Fisher Cats' Drabek tosses no-hitter
"All I knew was my arm felt great," he said. "That was the main thing for me. That helped me go the whole game."
Drabek pitched the first nine-inning no-hitter in team history as the Fisher Cats blanked the New Britain Rock Cats, 5-0.
Despite those recent struggles, the 18th overall pick in the 2006 Draft has not yielded a hit over his last 13 1/3 innings.
"When I struggled, I kind of sped everything up," Drabek said. "It was difficult. I just needed to stay calm through the whole game. When I start to get in trouble, I tend to fall off the mound some."
He didn't fall off the mound much in front of a crowd of 6,037 at Merchantsauto.com Stadium.
After retiring the first 12 batters, Drabek walked Erik Lis but avoided trouble by getting Juan Portes to hit into a double play. Steve Singleton also walked before Jair Fernandez grounded out to third to end the fifth inning.
The Eastern League All-Star set down the final 12 batters.
"Everything seemed to work out pretty good," he said. "(Catcher Brian) Jeroloman noticed my two-seam fastball is what helped me get there because of ground balls and stuff. I had some popups, but I was able to get a lot of ground balls out of it for the most part."
Drabek (8-8) recorded 13 groundouts as he recorded his first win since June 4.
"I want to thank Jeroloman and all the guys that were out there for making all the plays," he said.
MLB.com's No. 17 prospect won four of his first five decisions and posted a 2.75 ERA in May before going winless with a 4.45 ERA in June.
Acquired from the Phillies in the offseason trade involving Roy Halladay, Drabek became the first Fisher Cat to throw a no-hitter since Jamie Vermilyea authored a seven-inning perfect game on June 28, 2004 against New Britain.
Drabek's father, Doug, won the 1990 National League Cy Young Award with the Pirates and came within one out of a no-hitter on Aug. 3 of that season. The younger Drabek said he looked forward to calling both of his parents with the good news. Of course, he had to wait until after the Fisher Cats' Independence Day fireworks celebration.
"We had a packed house tonight," Drabek said. "Having them cheer in the ninth, I've never pitched through something like that before."
Alex Raskin is a contributor to MLB.com.