Steven Wright flirts with no-hitter as Aeros earn shutout win
Akron, OH — Akron knuckleballer Steven Wright took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Friday night, picking up his seventh win of the season as the Aeros shut out the Altoona Curve, 3-0, at Canal Park.
Wright (7-6, 2.46) threw no-hit baseball for at least six innings for the second time this season. He allowed a bloop single to right fielder Adalberto Santos leading off the seventh and exited the game following the pitch. In six innings, Wright walked five batters and struck out four while throwing 102 pitches (54 strikes).
“The starter sets the tone for the game and he pitched a fantastic game through six innings,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “His pitch count got a little bit high going into the seventh, but being a knuckleballer, we were going to give him an opportunity to go out there and see what happened.”
After the leadoff runner reached off of Wright in the seventh, the Aeros bullpen closed the door. Bryan Price came on in relief of Wright and tossed two scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out two. Preston Guilmet worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save of the season.
“We have a lot of confidence in our bullpen, and they’ve thrown the ball great all year,” said Tremie. “We feel really good when we get into the seventh, eighth and ninth innings with what we’re going to throw out there.”
After being held to just three hits in a 12-inning, 3-2 loss in the first game of the series, the Aeros experienced a reversal of fortune and limited the Curve to just three hits during Friday’s win.
Akron got on the board when center fielder Tyler Holt hit an RBI-double in the bottom of the third inning off of Altoona starter Kyle McPherson (1-4, 4.40). In the following inning, right fielder Thomas Neal lined a homer just over the left field wall for his seventh home run of the season. Catcher Roberto Perez added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make the score 3-0.
The Aeros played great defense behind Wright and both relievers, turning three double-plays in the game. Two of the twin-killings came during Price’s two innings.
“We turned several double plays and Roberto [Perez] did great behind the plate with Wright starting,” said Tremie.
The Aeros and Curve will play the final game of the series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Gerrit Cole (2-1, 4.63) will start for Altoona. Indians lefty Rafael Perez is scheduled to make a one inning rehab appearance for the Aeros. Righty Brett Brach (3-4, 4.69) is the regularly scheduled starter for Akron.
Notes: After a 0-for-4 night, Matt Lawson snapped his nine-game hitting streak. … Chun Chen continued to miss time due to a day-to-day thumb injury. … Announced attendance: 6,326.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.