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Torres tosses five-inning perfecto

Rain-shortened gem is second no-hitter in Knights history
June 18, 2009
Carlos Torres needed only 58 pitches, a clutch two-out rally and some heavy rain to complete the first perfect game in Charlotte Knights history.

The 26-year-old right-hander retired all 15 batters he faced and Josh Kroeger capped a five-run fifth inning with a grand slam as the Knights blanked the Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-0, in a rain-shortened game that qualified as the franchise's second no-hitter since joining the International League in 1993.

"I knew I had a no-hitter, but I didn't know I had a perfect game," Torres told the Providence Journal. "My defense made some great plays. The catcher [Donny Lucy) called a good game and I just tried to fill up the zone."

Torres (5-4), a 15th-round selection by the White Sox in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, was only a month removed from his first career complete game -- a 1-0 seven-inning loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 15 -- before a "perfect storm" of events led to his historic achievement.

The Kansas State product breezed through the first four frames, but was locked in a scoreless deadlock as Pawtucket starter Charlie Zink kept Charlotte at bay, despite yielding three hits and hitting a batter entering the fifth.

Lucy sparked the decisive rally with a one-out walk in the fifth, moving to second on a groundout by Corky Miller and advancing to third when Zink balked.

Miguel Negron, Brent Lillibridge and Major League veteran Keith Ginter all walked to force in the game's first run before Kroeger connected for his ninth homer of the year, a blast over the center-field wall.

Armed with a comfortable lead, but not knowing he was three outs from putting himself in the Charlotte record books, Torres struck out Aaron Bates and Paul McAnulty before inducing Dusty Brown into what proved to be a game-ending groundout.

The game was called after an extended delay, making Torres the first International League hurler to toss a five-inning no-hitter since legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did it for Columbus at Rochester on June 26, 1995, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Scranton/Wilkes Barre's Jeremy Cummings pitched the league's last no-hitter, going the conventional nine innings against Rochester on Sept. 3, 2006 -- also a 5-0 win.

Torres pitched the 15th perfect game in league history -- only four of which have gone nine innings -- and the first since Pawtucket's Bronson Arroyo went the full nine against Buffalo on Aug. 10, 2003.

The only previous no-hitter for Charlotte was pitched by Tetsu Yofu against Durham on Aug. 1, 2004. That was also a 5-0 victory for the Knights.

John Habyan (1985) and Frank Castillo (1990) also pitched no-hitters for Charlotte, but those came when the Knights competed in the Double-A Southern League.

John Torenli is a contributor to