Leal throws nine no-hit innings for Class A South Bend

Cubs farmhand does not earn a decision despite an incredible effort in 12-inning loss

Leal throws nine no-hit innings for Class A South Bend

Sometimes, throwing nine innings of no-hit ball isn't enough.

That's the reality Cubs prospect Erick Leal faced on Tuesday, as Class A South Bend fell to Kane County, 1-0, in 12 innings. The 20-year-old right-hander struck out four while walking one in nine frames. Leal was removed before the top of the 10th and reliever Corbin Hoffman allowed a two-out single to Marty Herum in the 10th inning to end the team's no-hitter bid.

D-backs No. 22 prospect Victor Reyes scored the game's only run, coming home on Ildemaro Vargas' sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th.

Leal has not been particularly consistent this season, but he's been dominant at times. He struck out eight in eight scoreless innings on July 21 and notched two scoreless five-inning efforts between May and June.

"Man, I don't have the words to explain it today," Leal told MiLB.com. "Today is a big day. Today is my first time [going] nine innings too. My second baseman [David Bote] helped me a lot today too."

It all came together for Leal against the Cougars on Tuesday. He kept a perfect game going until he issued his lone walk in the fifth inning. Leal didn't allow another Cougar to reach base the rest of the game.

His big game came against the organization that signed him in 2011. Arizona traded the Venezuelan to Chicago in 2013, where Leal has gone 16-11 in 37 starts. He stands at 7-7 with a 4.12 ERA this season.

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