Minors pitchers at heart of unusual no-hitter

Braves manager Gonzalez talks about prospects' nerves in nine-walk, 10-inning milestone

Minors pitchers at heart of unusual no-hitter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Like most who were in attendance for Sunday afternoon's game at Osceola County Stadium, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez did not know exactly how to describe the fact that he had just seen nine of his pitchers combine to complete 10 hitless innings in a 2-2 tie against the Astros.

"It didn't feel like [a no-hitter] because what did we end up walking, 11 or nine? Gonzalez said. "I've never seen that. Only in Spring Training, you see weird stuff like that."

This was far from a masterpiece, as the Braves issued nine walks and hit one batter. But after a group of Minor League pitchers flirted with disaster during the late innings, Jairo Heredia completed the no-hitter with a perfect 10th inning.

During a three-inning span that began in the sixth, the Braves issued six walks and plunked a batter. Ian Thomas began this ugly stretch, as he escaped unscathed after walking the bases full. The Astros tallied their only two runs in the seventh inning against prospect Mauricio Cabrera, who issued two walks and hit a batter before recording his first out.

"I think [Cabrera] was just nervous," Gonzalez said. "But I like him and I liked Lucas Sims. Those guys really threw the ball well. It takes a little getting used to with those guys. It's their first time in camp and their first outing. It's hard to get calmed down."

Braves starting pitcher Cody Martin and relievers Jim Johnson, Josh Outman and Brandon Cunniff worked the first five innings. Sims, who was the club's top pitching prospect before Mike Foltynewicz was acquired from the Astros in January, was brought over from Minor League camp to serve as an extra in this contest. He pitched around a leadoff walk and recorded a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning.

Justin Jackson and Heredia, who were also brought over from Minor League camp for this game, completed this odd no-hitter, as they combined to notch the final six outs for the Braves.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.