Peacock, Chukars no-hit Osprey
"I felt a little shaky in the bullpen. Nothing was working," he said. "My fastball was high, the changeup was bouncing in dirt, the slider wasn't sliding."
Everything changed once he took the mound at Melaleuca Field as Peacock pitched a career-high seven innings and combined on the Pioneer League's first no-hitter since 2008 in the Idaho Falls Chukars' 3-0 blanking of the Missoula Osprey.
"Everything started working for me," said Peacock, the Royals' 31st-round pick in last year's Draft. "I started getting my tempo up, my defense was great. I fed off their energy and I'm sure they fed off mine."
The 20-year-old left-hander retired the first 16 batters before Jae Yun Kim reached on an error by first baseman Murray Watts with one out in the sixth. He set down Domingo Soriano on a fly ball and got Roberto Rodriguez to pop out to third base.
"The thing that helped me the most was throwing my off-speed pitches for strikes anytime in the count," he said. "If I got into a hitter's count, I started mixing in some off-speed stuff."
Pitching into the seventh for the first time in his brief professional career, Peacock issued a leadoff walk to Raul Navarro, who was thrown out trying to steal by catcher Kevin David. Adam Eaton hit a comebacker and Bobby Stone flied to center field to end the night for the Santa Ana College product.
"Around the fourth or fifth inning, I [realized] I had something working for me," Peacock said. "I've never thrown a no-hitter and wanted it really bad. It's rare to say, 'I threw seven innings without allowing a hit.'"
The nearly perfect outing was an almost complete turnaround for Peacock, who'd surrendered 20 earned runs on 30 hits over 11 2/3 innings in his previous three starts. That included an outing against Ogden on Aug. 13 in which he retired only five batters and was charged with 11 runs on nine hits and three walks.
"It definitely was the mental part of it," Peacock said. "I never had great success at home games and the last one was probably the worst outing of my life. I went out there [tonight] and had something to prove to my coaches and the fans. They come out here and spend their money and I couldn't let myself pitch that bad again. I gave it my all."
His all couldn't get Peacock a win, however. He exited a scoreless game and was watching from the dugout when Reggie Taylor led off the bottom of the eighth with his first homer as a pro.
"I kind of chuckled to myself," said Peacock, who struck out eight and lowered his ERA from 7.71 to 6.27.
"I saw it go over and [thought], 'Here we go, now we've got a chance,'" added Jason Mitchell, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth after replacing Peacock. "I only threw one inning, I don't deserve as much credit as Brian. That was one of the best performances I've seen."
Alex Rivers came on for the ninth and struck out Kim, Soriano and Rodriguez looking.
"Before the inning started, [David] told me to keep the ball down, they haven't hit anything all night," Rivers said. "You want to be aggressive, but I threw a lot of off-speed pitches. I did know we had a no-hitter and you don't want to get beat. My fastballs were off the plate; I didn't want to give them anything good to hit."
The no-hitter was the first in the Pioneer League since Missoula's Miles Reagan, Jesse Orosco, Bryan Shaw pitched one against Helena on June 30, 2008. The Chukars' last no-no was a five-inning gem pitched by John Leonard and Ben Swaggerty against Casper on Aug. 2, 2007.
Domingo Guzman tossed Idaho Falls' last nine-inning no-hitter on Aug. 15, 1996 against Butte.
Daren Smith is an editor for MLB.com.