Compton ace Shane Bieber finished off the second no-hitter of the 2021 PGBL season by getting Louisville’s Rougned Odor to chase the last three of his 126 pitches for his 15th strikeout.
Bieber issued three walks in the 3-0 road victory, posting the 22nd no-hitter on record while improving to 2-5 on the year and lowering his ERA to 2.67. He struck out Odor in all four of his at-bats and whiffed Asdrubal Cabrera three times.
Orlando Arcia and Eugenio Suarez had RBI doubles and Gleyber Torres contributed a sacrifice fly for the Outlawz, who struck out 16 times against three Louisville pitchers. Long Rifles starter Drew Smyly (1-6) racked up 11 punch outs in five innings.
Bieber’s no-no comes just over three weeks after a combined no-hitter by Toronto’s Kwang Hyun Kim and Freddy Peralta, the second-shortest gap in league history behind the six days separating Brian Anderson’s perfect game for the BlueBirds and a gem by San Antonio’s Russ Ortiz in 2004.
It marks the first season with two no-hitters since Flagstaff’s Ubaldo Jimenez and London’s Matt Cain in 2010.
Toronto rookie lefty Kwang Hyun Kim and reliever Freddy Peralta combined on a no-hitter after coming within one out of recording the second perfect game in PGBL history.
Making just his third career start, Kim racked up 113 pitches in retiring all 24 batters he faced through eight innings. Instead of letting Kim finish, Tigers manager Ken Griffey Jr. then turned to Peralta with an 8-0 lead.
After retiring Renato Nunez on a fly to right and Robbie Grossman on a grounder to first, Peralta walked the Roughnecks’ Joey Gallo on five pitches to spoil the perfecto. But Peralta rebounded to strike out pinch hitter Tyler Naquin and complete the franchise’s first no-hitter.
It marks the league’s 20th no-no on record, coming a little over one year Oakland’s Mike Clevinger held Las Vegas hitless. It also is just the second combined effort, following Louisville’s Mike Montgomery and Ryan Tepera in 2018.
Oddly, the Tigers franchise was on the opposite end of the only perfect game during their 2004 inaugural season as the B.C. Bucs, and the opponent was Toronto. BlueBirds southpaw Brian Anderson finished a 92-pitch gem with 4 strikeouts in a 5-0 victory, with Timo Perez making the final out.
Kim improved to 2-0 with the win, striking out nine Calgary batters and lowering his ERA to 0.86. Jesse Winker homered and Clint Frazier had three hits for the Maple Leaf Division-leading Tigers.
The Dublin Guinness wasted no time in making a push for the 2021 PGBL championship, pulling off a quick-strike deal with Calgary to acquire Yu Darvish and Francisco Lindor just seven games into the season.
The 10-player swap comes with Dublin off to the best start in the South League at 5-2. The Guinness sent veteran catcher Willson Contreras to the Roughnecks in a package that included six players (one to be named later) all age 25 or younger.
Darvish won both of his first two 2021 starts while posting a 2.08 ERA with Calgary off to a 4-3 start. Lindor hit 37 homers with 107 RBIs in 2020, his lone full season with the Roughnecks following a trade with Louisville.
Pitchers Griffin Canning and Keegan Akin top the list of youngsters headed to Calgary, joined by infielder Nico Hoerner and minor leaguers Austin Martin. Outfield prospect Corbin Carroll will be the player named later.
Dublin will also receive catcher Jorge Alfaro and two draft picks. The Guinness added free agents Dean Kremer, Joe Panik and Bryan Abreu to fill their roster openings.
Among a series of corresponding moves, Calgary picked up Todd Frazier and released Albert Pujols – the active leader in homers, RBIs, hits and runs. Pujols was on the Roughnecks’ roster throughout the 2020 season but did not play.
The 2021 PGBL season begins today with two-time defending champion opening on the road against Flagstaff to start a four-game series. North League champ Ottawa also starts with a four-game road trip, visiting London.
Championship series participants Compton and Vancouver open at home, with the Outlawz hosting Memphis and the Wildcats welcoming Toronto. A matchup of NL playoff teams has Norris Division champ Chicago at home against division rival Boston, while SL wildcard St. Louis visits Confederate Division foe Dublin.
Other matchups include Brooklyn at Cleveland and and Tijuana at Twin City, while the first inter-divisional pairings have Calgary at Pittsburgh and Louisville at Las Vegas.
The Ottawa Argonauts made relief standout Devin Williams the first selection in the 2021 PGBL Draft, as pitching dominated the top half of the first round.
Max Meyer went second to Louisville, followed by Framber Valdez going third to Brooklyn. Nine of the first 10 choices were pitchers, with shortstop Willi Castro the lone exception as the No. 6 pick to Cleveland.
Three Confederate Division teams accounted for 11 of the first round choices. The Long Rifles followed Meyer with Garrett Crochet (18th) and Adrian Del Castillo (19th). Mephis picked Tyler Mahle at No. 4 and added Codi Heuer (7th), Victor Gonzalez (13th) and Max Stassi (20th). St. Louis chose Cristian Javier (8th), Jared Walsh (11th), Jake Cronenworth (14th) and Jeimer Candelario (15th).