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One week later, Gamboa fires no-no

Orioles knuckleballer throws first Bowie no-hitter since 2007
June 30, 2013

Last Sunday, almost to the hour, Eddie Gamboa lost a no-hitter on the eighth inning to an infield single.

He spoke candidly about narrowly missing out on a piece of history, saying he was aiming for a perfect game that had slipped away much earlier in the game.

That makes his latest gem that much sweeter.

The 28-year-old converted knuckleballer struck out five batters in tossing Double-A Bowie's first no-hitter in six years as the Baysox beat the Harrisburg Senators, 7-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.

"You shoot for perfection and if you don't get it, you're still up there," said Gamboa. "Every pitcher that goes up there tries for that. You step on the mound and you go for a perfect game.

"No matter what level you're at, a no-hitter is a difficult thing to do. I'm very excited and grateful to have this moment with the Bowie Baysox for everybody on the field."

Radhames Liz struck out eight batters in Bowie's last no-no, a nine-inning outing against Harrisburg on June 1, 2007.

Gamboa threw 58 of 103 pitches for strikes, relying on a new knuckleball grip to the one he had used the past two times he had faced the Senators.

"I used to really grip it deep in my hand, now I'm loose on it, just on my fingertips," said Gamboa, who was hesitant in calling his feat "legit" due to the seven-inning nature of the accomplishment. "It has been good and consistent and it has been moving. My biggest worry is always that it won't move at all. I don't want to go up there and just throw BP."

Gamboa was quick to praise his defense, which handled eight ground-ball outs and four more through the air.

"Shortstop Niuman Romero made a great backhand play [in the sixth inning] and first baseman Seth Loman really wore one. It took a bad hop, but instead of olé-ing it, he got down like a catcher and he made a great play.

"There were no crazy diving plays, but everyone hustled."

Gamboa (4-5) estimated he used his revised knuckleball around 75 percent of the time on Sunday against Harrisburg, a club he has faced three times in June alone.

In three of his past four games, Gamboa has kept his opponents off the board. He has allowed six runs -- all in a loss to Harrisburg on June 18 -- over his previous 28 1/3 innings.

"This is a team that has hit me very well the last couple outings," Gamboa said. "They know me as well as I know them, but I've been playing with a different grip, so that might have thrown them off.

"They know me a guy that gets ahead with conventional stuff and then throws a knuckleball. Now I'm throwing it in any count."

That alone pleased Gamboa's mentor, Phil Niekro, who probably would be pleased to hear that the UC Davis product threw only knuckleballs in the final inning as the rain intensified.

"It's not every day that you get a call from a Hall of Famer," Gamboa said of Niekro, who reached out to the Orioles farmhand after hearing of his outing. "He has been working with me a lot and I wouldn't be throwing the knuckleball without him.

"He told me congratulations and he said he was proud of me. He was excited for me and he told me to keep throwing it. Last week, I had a 1-0 lead and I threw a 3-1 fastball because I was more concerned about the win than the no-hitter. Today I had a cushion and threw 3-1 knuckleballs."

Bowie third baseman Garabez Rosa smacked a first-inning grand slam, left fielder Nolan Reimold added a solo shot in the fifth and Loman plated two runs in the win.

Harrisburg starter Paul Demny (5-6) allowed six runs on three hits and four runs over two-thirds of an inning.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.