Bowden, PawSox Combine for Near No-Hitter in Breaking Losing Skid


Jul 19, 2009

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Maybe it was divine intervention, but the
PawSox might have needed some additional help to put an end to their
eight-game losing streak, their longest losing streak at McCoy Stadium
since 1985.

That help came in the form of a near no-hitter Sunday afternoon, with a
group of nuns from Pawtucket's Little Sisters of the Poor as the
PawSox' special guests, taking part in pregame ceremonies and throwing
out one of the ceremonial first pitches.

"I'm not Catholic, but I'll take help from anyone," PawSox manager Ron Johnson joked after his team's 3-2 win over the Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh's affiliate.

PawSox pitchers — starter Michael Bowden, T.J. Large, Javier Lopez and Fernando Cabrera — combined to carry a no-hitter through 8 2/3 innings before it was broken up in the final frame.  

Cabrera entered with one out in the ninth. He got Indianapolis' Steve Pearce to fly out to right fielder Bubba Bell in foul territory for the second out of the inning.  But Cabrera then allowed a second-pitch single up the middle to Larry Broadway, ending the PawSox' chance for their 10th no-hitter in team history.

On the very next pitch, Tagg Bozied launched a fastball onto the berm in left field for the Indians' only runs. Cabrera then got Robinzon Diaz to ground out to shortstop Ivan Ochoa for the final out, clinching the PawSox' first win since July 7.

"It's a lot more fun in the clubhouse when you win," Bowden said. "I'm
hoping this starts off the second half, gives us a little boost and we
start winning."

Bowden and Large were in the clubhouse watching the end of the game.

"In the eighth, we're like, 'It's no big deal with four pitchers,'"
Bowden said of a potential combined no-hitter. "Then with two outs (in
the ninth) we're like, 'Man this is going to be sweet.' Then the hit.
It was still fun, a fun game to be part of."

Pitching on 12 days' rest because of the All-Star break and a planned
midseason shutdown, Bowden went five no-hit innings, throwing 73
pitches, with five strikeouts and four walks.

"For having 12 days off, I thought he did a nice job," Johnson said.
"He had a nice finish to his fastball. He threw a lot of pitches
downhill but had that Michael Bowden finish to them.

"And I think the layoff did him good. He walked four guys. He's not
happy about that. But being down for 12 days, I just liked the quality
of his stuff. He threw some good sliders. He threw some good fastballs.
He didn't give up a hit, and he was pitch efficient even with the four

Bowden was also satisfied with his outing and with the break.

"I don't like taking breaks, personally," he said. "I'd like to get out
there every day if I could. But I think both mentally and physically it
was a good breather for me. I got a chance to take some weight off my
shoulders. I was pressing a little bit. I could just kind of start over
and work on some things. Overall, it was pretty beneficial."

He spent the layoff tweaking his delivery.

"For the last month, I wasn't getting over the rubber," he said. "I was
kind of falling forward and my arm was trailing. I was very
inconsistent. [The key] is more or less staying over the rubber. It
tells me [to] get on top of the ball. It helps get the downward plane
that I usually throw it on instead of it being flat."

Johnson was just as happy with Pawtucket's relievers.

"The rest of the guys did a great job," he said. "This is exactly what
this club needed today. We needed somebody to go out and put up zero
after zero."  

Large (1-0), who picked up his first Triple-A win after being promoted
from Double-A Portland on July 12, pitched one inning, giving up a walk.

Lopez went 2 1/3 innings, getting the first out of the ninth before giving way to Cabrera.  

"It was kind of good to get out there," Lopez said. "We've been
struggling to score runs and even pitching nowadays. So, it's kind of
funny — it almost takes a no-hitter to get us out of the funk. But,
hey, that's hopefully what we need to get us going here.  

"You wish you got the no-hitter, but ultimately you're just happy you
got the win and try to get some momentum, knowing that we're going on
the road. So, it's momentum, and obviously it'd be nice because we've
been pitching great all year but we've kind of been struggling as of
late. [It's been] the same thing offensively, getting some hits but
[we] can't even string them together. So, hopefully this is a momentum

The PawSox scored their first run in the sixth. Paul McAnulty doubled to right, took third on Chris Carter's ground-ball single to right and scored on Aaron Bates' chopper to third.

The Sox then scored what would prove to be two much-needed runs in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Mark Wagner's single to right scored McAnulty and Travis Denker, who pinch ran for Carter in the sixth, giving the PawSox a 3-0 lead.

While the PawSox lost out on a no-hitter, they've come close a couple
of times this season. Bowden hurled 6 2/3 innings of no-hit ball on May
6 before losing it. Also, Clay Buchholz lost a perfect game in the ninth inning, giving up a single to the leadoff batter on May 25 against Toledo.

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