PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- With an
all-New England battery trying to make history in Pawtucket on Sunday,
lefty Jeff Beliveau fired a third strike past Jeremy Hazelbaker to
preserve a combined no-hitter and secure a 2-1 victory for the Durham
Bulls over the PawSox.
A native of Providence who graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School, Beliveau was summoned with two out in the bottom of the 9th, as Durham's fourth pitcher. Pitching to catcher Craig Albernaz, a Fall River, Mass. native, he inherited Pawtucket's Mark Hamilton, who represented the tying run.
Beliveau's final pitch, resulting in his fourth strikeout against as many batters in the series, sealed the Bulls' first no-hitter since Jason Hamel and Juan Salas combined to beat Columbus, 2-1, on July 16, 2006. It also marked the first time the PawSox were no-hit in a nine-inning game since Toledo's Jose Lima blanked them, 3-0, on Aug. 17, 1994.
The game nearly ended in a far different outcome immediately before Beliveau (S, 1) entered. Pawtucket started the inning by putting the first two on base, thanks to walks by Kirby Yates. After a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Dent, Brandon Snyder hammered a pitch to deep center field, only to see Durham's Rich Thompson make a sensational over-the-shoulder catch a step in front of the wall.
Snyder's drive scored Ryan Lavarnway to draw the Sox within, 2-1. But the contest ended with Hamilton still in scoring position and the PawSox 0-for-6 with runners at second and/or third base. Overall, they stranded six runners, including five in the last three innings, failing to capitalize on eight walks.
Durham right-hander Jake Odorizzi (W, 3-0) overcame his four walks, but left after 7.0 innings and 95 pitches. Opposite Pawtucket knuckleballer Steven Wright (L, 1-1), Odorizzi was staked to an early lead with a pair of unearned runs.
The Bulls scored first after Wright walked a pair with two out in the top of the 1st and Snyder committed an error at third base on Vince Belnome's sharp ground ball. Ahead 1-0, Durham plated its second run in the 2nd on a passed ball.
Thereafter, the PawSox bullpen held the Bulls to just four hits in seven innings. During one stretch, Graham Godfrey, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Chris Carpenter retired 13 straight hitters.
But Frank De Los Santos, who walked two in 2/3 of an inning, Yates and Beliveau were able to close out the milestone victory to earn a split of the four-game series.
The PawSox (17-13) ended their nine-day homestand with a 4-4 record. They'll travel to Gwinnett and Charlotte the next eight days, starting with Monday's scheduled 6:05 p.m. affair featuring Rubby De La Rosa (0-0, 7.11) vs. Omar Poveda (2-1, 1.93).