LHP Giovanni Soto threw the first solo nine-inning no-hitter at Canal Park Sunday afternoon, blanking Altoona 2-1.
The 21-year old native of Puerto Rico became just the second Aeros pitcher to ever throw a solo no-hitter, followed by RHP Jeanmar Gomez's perfect game at Trenton May 21, 2009.
On this humid Sunday afternoon, Soto needed a mere 1:58 to throw 104 pitches, including 64 for strikes. Soto (6-6, 3.73 ERA) issued three walks and struck out six, erasing two of the walks on a pair of double plays.
The Aeros staked Soto to a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the first inning off Curve starter Phil Irwin then extended it to two runs in the fourth when Irwin hit RF Thomas Neal to lead off the inning. Neal advanced to third on 3B Ryan Rohlinger’s single to right, and scored on an infield hit by Aeros C Michel Hernandez.
The Curve's lone run - which was unearned - came in the sixth following a lead-off walk to 2B Jarek Cunningham. Cunningham advanced two bases on a throwing errorr by Aeros CF Tyler Holt. Cunningham scored on 3B Kelson Brown's ground out.
Soto, who joined the Indians organization in the trade that sent veteran INF Jhonny Peralta to Detroit July 29, 2010, retired the side in order six times.
The Aeros turned double plays in the second and seventh to erase runners who had reached via walks, meaning Soto faced just one batter over the minimum number of hitters (28).
Soto retired the final seven batters he faced, including the lone play that had a chance to break up his no-hit bid. In the eighth inning, lead off man and RF Quincy Latimore hit a chopper back to the mound that Soto dropped and fumbled briefly before throwing in time to first to get the out.
In his fourth pro season since signing with the Tigers in 2008, Soto (who had gone eight starts without a victory prior to Sunday) snapped a personal four-game losing streak and picked up his first win since June 5th, when he beat New Britain, 6-2.
The no-hitter was Soto’s second complete game of the season, having also pitched a seven-inning complete-game in a losing effort at Reading in the first game of a double-header on June 16th.
Irwin went the distance for the Curve, but came away with the loss despite holding the Aeros to five hits and not issuing a walk.
The Aeros next welcome Harrisburg to Canal Park for the first of a three-game series beginning Monday night at 7:05. Senators RHP Trevor Holder (0-1, 37.80) is slated to face Aeros RHP Paolo Espino (3-2, 3.41).
While Soto's performance marked the first solo no-hitter at Canal Park, Aeors pitchers have combined for two previous no-hitters at home. Both occurred during the team's first Eastern League Championship title in 2003 season.
Fernando Cabrera, Aaron Myette and Jose Vargas combined to blank Harrisburg, 15-0, on April 8, 2003. Nearly three months to the day, Chad Durbin and Oscar Alvarez no-hit Bowie on July 7, 2003.