Trio spins Palm Beach's first no-hitter since 2012
After a tough May, Single-A Palm Beach is turning things around in June, going 7-3 to start the month. And on Wednesday, the club was given the perfect opportunity to recognize their efforts -- a no-hitter. Cardinals prospects Tink Hence, Jose Moreno and Roy Garcia combined for Palm Beach's first
After a tough May, Single-A Palm Beach is turning things around in June, going 7-3 to start the month. And on Wednesday, the club was given the perfect opportunity to recognize their efforts -- a no-hitter.
Cardinals prospects Tink Hence, Jose Moreno and Roy Garcia combined for Palm Beach's first no-hitter in 10 years as the team blanked Clearwater, 5-0, on Wednesday.
"It was a big celebration. I mean, it was a day game, it was 100 degrees and we're on the road and the club's been playing good, and we pushed across a couple of late runs," manager Gary Kendall said. "So there was a lot of celebration. The team continues to play a little better than we had in the last month. We've started to turn the corner a little bit and compete better.
So there was a lot of celebration due to that and the fact that, you know, we threw a no-hitter, and everybody was happy for our pitching staff. I was very happy for Gio [Carrara], our pitching coach."
Hence set the tone with five strikeouts in three perfect innings. The Cardinals' No. 11 prospect utilized his sinker as he dialed it up to 97 and registered the game's 24 fastest pitches. Hence threw 25 of his 42 pitches for strikes, inducing three groundouts.
"He had it all; a good changeup today, good breaking ball," Kendall said. "[He] went after barrels, no walks, three innings, five K's -- big thing's the no walks. And he worked ahead and made pitches, so it was nice to see."
The Cardinals selected Hence 63rd overall in the CB-B round of the 2020 Draft. With a plus-fastball and plus-curveball, the 19-year-old has an 0.60 ERA with 24 strikeouts and five walks in 15 innings across five starts this season since joining Palm Beach on May 18.
"He's a hard-throwing right-hander that has real good secondary stuff," the manager said. "Very mature, got good poise, and he prepares well; he takes to instruction. And he's just a special kid with a very special arm, and he's a solid baseball player."
Tink Hence's Statcast data from today's start in the Single-A Palm Beach no-hitter.— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) June 15, 2022
His line: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 42 pitches, 25 strikes, eight whiffs.
Hence has allowed 1 ER in 15 IP (0.60 ERA) to start the season. He has fanned 24 in that span. https://t.co/m4MXlAOj7m pic.twitter.com/l4G3EOxtqZ
Just like in his last start, Hence was relieved by Moreno. Both the 21-year-old righty-hander and Garcia have been working with the pitching coach to make adjustments after they allowed runs to Tampa in their last appearances.
"Carrara did a really nice job in between the outings from five days ago to today to get those guys around the plate with their stuff," Kendall said. "Most of it was in their delivery. Sometimes you come out of your delivery and your arm slots in a different place. ... So there were a lot of adjustments that he made with both of them. Both of them have good stuff, and both of them, their Achilles heel is the walks."
Moreno (1-2) did issue three free passes and also hit a batter on Wednesday, but he was able to work his way out of trouble with timely ground balls and a pair of strikeouts. The Venezuela native lowered his ERA to 1.96 and now has 41 punchouts against 30 walks in 36 2/3 innings across 13 appearances this season.
Garcia got right to work in the seventh, retiring all three batters on five pitches. After surrendering a one-out walk in the eighth, the Dominican Republic native sat down the final five batters he faced to close out the no-hitter. Garcia struck out a season-high four in the three frames. Kendall was pleased to see Garcia locating his fastball while being able to mix in his off-speed stuff.
"He's got real good stuff. And the only thing that really gets him in trouble is pitching behind, and he gets pretty predictable after that because he has to throw his heater," the skipper said. "So for him to get ahead and try to use all his stuff in an array of counts is what makes them effective, because he's got real good spin on his breaking ball and real good feel for his changeup."
The gem marked the third no-hitter in Palm Beach history. On Aug. 8, 2011,
The game remained tied through the first six innings before Cardinals No. 22 prospect Jhon Torres broke it open with a solo homer to left center.
"It was just a good day," Kendall said. "Winning streaks are contagious due to good pitching, so hopefully we can continue that."
Kelsie Heneghan is a writer for MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.