The Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals nearly recorded their first combined no-hitter since 1995 on Wednesday, with No. 1 prospect (No. 4 overall) Lucas Giolito providing the heavy lifting in a 4-0 win over Frederick.
Rehabbing big-leaguer Aaron Barrett got through the first inning before Giolito took over. The 6-foot-6 right-hander proceeded to blank the Keys for seven innings, allowing just one walk while striking out seven in that span. In all, Giolito tossed 84 pitches -- 52 for strikes -- before getting pulled prior to the ninth inning.
That's when Jeff Kemp prevented history from taking place. Reliever Manny Rodriguez forced a flyout from Josh Hart before giving up a single to Kemp, who advanced to second base on an error. Rodriguez recorded the final two outs after that, but there would be no no-no on the river, only a one-hit shutout.
Giolito has an impressive stretch going. He hasn't allowed a hit in 10 1/3 innings and hasn't allowed a run since June 12. This is the kind of production Washington expected from its top prospect after he finished extended Spring Training in mid-May.
While Giolito's first four starts weren't the most memorable -- 25 hits given up with a 4.84 ERA -- he's since gone 1-1 while lowering his ERA to 3.08.
Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.