Cougars' Lansford throws a no-hitter
Lansford (2-1) overcame control problems -- he walked five -- en route to the second Midwest League no-hitter in as many days.
"A couple of balls got away," he said. "It was a tough day. Some of the innings, it was just a little lack of focus."
Lansford, a 19-year-old right-hander, struck out two in throwing the third no-hitter in Cougars' history and the first since Bill Murphy shut out West Michigan, 6-0, on June 10, 2003.
The son of former American League batting champion Carney Lansford retired the side in order only twice, in the second and sixth innings. In the seventh, he issued a one-out walk to Edward Ovalle, then got Caleb Moore to ground into a game-ending double play.
"There was silence in the dugout all the way through the last inning," Lansford said.
Lansford spent the first month of the season at extended Spring Training while recovering from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. In his debut on May 1, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Clinton LumberKings before Jose Vallejo led off with a bloop single. Matt Smith followed with a base hit and Lansford was pulled, walking two and striking out five in five-plus innings.
"The first one, my pitch count was really high for the first five innings. I threw a lot of pitches to too many guys," he said. "I'm still on a pitch limit, so I just focused on letting them hit it (today). Luckily, there wasn't too much hard contact.
"I only threw a couple of breaking balls, mainly fastballs and change-ups," Lansford continued. "I was just mixing it up. It was one of those days everything was breaking right, everything felt good."
In his last start on May 7, the 2005 second-round draft pick also pitched five innings and gave up five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and a walk with one strikeout. Sunday's effort lowered his ERA to 1.59.
Kane County scored the only run Lansford needed in the first as Michael Massaro drew a leadoff walk and raced all the way to third on Nick Blasi's sacrifice before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Frank Martinez.
Blasi singled to start the fourth, Steve Kleen drew a two-out walk and Anthony Recker plated both runners with a double to right field. Isaac Omura singled in the fifth and capped the scoring on a throwing error by catcher Caleb Moore.
Eddie Morlan (1-2) took the loss after giving up three runs on two hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out one.
The Midwest League had not seen a no-hitter since 2004, but Johnny Cueto was credited with one on Saturday, when the Dayton Dragons' game against Wisconsin was called after five innings due to rain.
Daren Smith is a staff writer for MLB.com.