ATLANTA — Justin Wilson’s 107th pitch in the game last night for Triple-A Indianapolis was ball four to Durham’s Jeff Salazar. When manager Dean Treanor went out to remove Wilson from the game, the fans booed — but they were booing Treanor, because Wilson was in the midst of tossing a no-hitter.
Wilson went held the Bulls hitless for 7 1/3 innings. Relievers Jose Diaz and Doug Slaten worked the final 1 2/3 innings to close out Indy’s first no-hitter since Ian Snell shut down Norfolk on May 15, 2005. “It felt awesome,” Wilson said. “Obviously, I would have loved to have finished it, but I understand (Treanor) has to make that decision.”
Wilson said he didn’t realize his pitch count was so high when Treanor came to the mound to take him out. “I said, ‘I’m not coming out,’ ” Wilson said. “And (Treanor) said, ‘Yeah, you are.’ He was pretty serious about it. He said, ‘This isn’t about today. It’s about years from now. We have to protect you and your arm.’ ” Management has set very strict limits on pitches and innings for the minor leaguers. In recent years, at least two minor league coaches have been disciplined by the Pirates for exceeding those limits.
Wilson walked two batters and struck out nine. Diaz and Slaten retired the final five batters on two fly outs and three grounders. “I’m glad I didn’t blow it for Willy. He pitched a helluva game,” said Slaten, who got Reid Brignac on a roller to second base for the final out.
It was just the second time in his career that Wilson (2-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) pitched into the eighth inning of a game he’d started. The 24-year-old lefty was the Pirates’ fifth-round pick in 2008 out of Fresno State, and this year was placed on the 40-man roster. He’s been a fast riser in the farm system — he spent 2009 at High-A Lynchburg, 2010 at Double-A Altoona and all of last year at Indy. He worked out of the bullpen for part of 2011 — and saw a significant spike in velocity — but returned to the rotation this season. Wilson today was named the International League pitcher of the week.
»»» RHP James McDonald takes a five-game road losing streak into his start tonight. Coincidentally, McDonald’s last win away from PNC Park came at Turner Field on July 25, 2011.
»»» Over the past six games, the Pirates have notched 23 extra-base hits (19 doubles and four homers). They had 22 extra-base hits over their first 15 games.
»»» Jameson Taillon yesterday notched his first Florida State League win for High-A Bradenton. He threw five scoreless innings, and hasn’t allowed a run in his past 11 innings overall.
»»» Right-handers Johnny Cueto (3-0, 1.39), Mat Latos (1-2, 5.97) and Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 2.70) are set to pitch for the Reds this weekend at PNC Park.
»»» Reliever Tim Alderson was sent back to Altoona. That cleared a roster spot at Indy for Daniel Cabrera, who came off the disabled list.
Game 22: Pirates @ Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET
Pirates (9-12): 1. Jose Tabata rf, 2. Josh Harrison ss, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Casey McGehee 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Yamaico Navarro lf, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. James MCDonald rhp (0-1, 2.78)
Braves (14-8): 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2. Martin Prado lf, 3. Freddie Freeman 1b, 4. Brian McCann c, 5. Dan Uggla 2b, 6. Chipper Jones 3b, 7. Eric Hinske rf, 8. Tyler Pastornicky ss, 9. Mike Minor lhp (2-1, 3.42)