Weekend Dish

Trio of pitchers combine on perfect game





See also: Friday's Daily Dish

Coming off its sixth straight loss and eighth straight loss on the road, Triple-A Portland was looking for anything good to happen on Friday night.

But no one could have expected perfection.

"It's very strange, because I saw the full moon, so I knew something weird was bound to happen," Beavers lefthander Ryan Meaux said. "I turned to (Portland outfielder) Ben Johnson, and, for some reason, I said to him, 'I'll get us out of this.' But I never thought about a perfect game. I've never thought of anything like that . . . ever. I just wanted to go out, keep us in the game and give us a chance to win."

Meaux then went out, and along with relievers Aquilino Lopez and Cla Meredith, completed just the seventh perfect game in the 104-history of the Pacific Coast League with a 5-0 win against Sacramento in the second game of a doubleheader. Because it was a doubleheader, the game was only seven innings.

"I've been involved in a couple of no-hitters in high school and college, but nothing is quite like this," Meaux said. "But nothing even comes close to this. It's taken a couple days for the true meaning of it to sink in . . . and I don't think I really have a full grip on the extent of what it means now. I think that's going to take a while."

Meaux started things off with four perfect innings before heading for the training room to ice down. That's when Lopez took things over, tossing two more perfect frames, striking out one.

"I was glancing up at the TV while I was in the tub and when Lopez came out, that's when I realized that this thing was really happening," Meaux said. "By the time I got out of the shower, things were pretty intense. It was unbelievable."

After Lopez, Meredith came on, inducing a ground out by Doug Clark for the first out, then getting Andrew Beattie and Hiram Bocachica on strikes to close it out.

"Everything just went right--all three of us were keeping the ball down in the zone and getting ground balls, there were a couple unbelievable plays--it was a classic and like nothing I've ever experienced," Meaux said. "I know after the third inning, I was thinking to myself, 'You know, I haven't given up a hit yet.' But you've been in those kind of situations before. Then I thought to myself, 'You know, I haven't walked anybody either.'

"After I came out of the game, I really didn't think much of it. I wasn't thinking about anybody blowing anything or anything like that. I hadn't even thought much about it. But it's been the greatest thing that's happened to us this season. Just seeing the emotion on everyone's faces after we did it was amazing. That's a memory you'll never forget. It'll last forever."

QUICK HITS

• Royals third baseman Alex Gordon missed three games after he cut his foot at his home in Wichita. According to the Wichita Eagle, Gordon was taking out the trash at his residence when he accidentally stepped on a bottle. The cut required three stitches. "It was a freak accident," Gordon told the paper. "It's just something that walking around the house, anyone could do. I never want to take days off. It's kind of frustrating when something like this comes up." Gordon returned to action on Sunday. The Royals first-round pick last year out of Nebraska is hitting .312/.409/.540 in 202 at-bats at Double-A Wichita . . . Barring any setbacks this week, Devil Rays righthander Jeff Niemann is expected to made his 2006 debut at Double-A Montgomery this Saturday when the Biscuits take on Mobile. Niemann, the Rays' first-round pick in 2004, has been severely limited by injuries in his brief pro career. A sore shoulder and groin problems shut him down last season, when he finished his first season 0-2, 4.11 in just 31 innings. Niemann has been in extended spring training in St. Petersburg for the first two months of the season, rehabbing from minor surgery he had to shave the joint down between his collarbone and shoulder last October . . . The Yankees sent third baseman Eric Duncan down to Double-A Trenton while he continues to rehab a bad back. Duncan returned to the lineup Thursday after missing nearly a month with a strained back. The Yankees' No. 1 prospect batted just .209/.279/.255 with no homers and six RBIs at Triple-A Columbus, but hit two bombs on Friday night in the Thunder's 9-7 loss to Reading. Righthander Tyler Clippard was shelled in that game, allowing eight earned runs on five hits and lasting just one inning. On the season, Clippard is now 2-8, 5.29 in 63 innings . . . Speaking of struggling, Orioles lefthander Richard Stahl did his best to impersonate Clippard's outing on Friday. Stahl also lasted just one inning, and allowed eight earned runs on nine hits in Double-A Bowie's 8-7 loss to Binghamton. Stahl, the O's first-round pick in 1999, is now 1-8, 5.93 in 55 innings . . . Add the adjective 'hero' to Double-A Akron third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff's resume. Kouzmanoff, who is leading the minors in batting, on-base and slugging percentage with .427/.479/.684 numbers, only had one hit on Friday, but it was a big one. Kouzmanoff hit a solo shot off Connecticut lefthander Pat Misch in the sixth inning to give the Aeros a 1-0 win against the Defenders . . . Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez has really been hitting a second gear as of late. Jimenez, who was signed by Colorado out of the Dominican in 2001, has reeled off four straight wins at Double-A Tulsa--allowing just three earned runs over his last 26 innings. Nine of those innings came Friday, as Jimenez held Arkansas to three hits in a complete game 5-0 shutout of the Travelers. Jimenez struck out 10--including Arkansas shortstop Brandon Wood twice--and walked one. On the season, he is now 7-2, 2.89 with 70 strikeouts in 62 innings . . . High Class A Kinston outfielder Trevor Crowe has been on a roll, currently riding a six-game hit streak. Crowe, a first-round pick of the Indians last year out of Arizona, is hitting .327/.446/.470 with a 45-47 strikeout-walk ratio in 217 at-bats . . . Marlins righthander Jacob Marceaux and Brewers righthander Yovani Gallardo hooked up Friday night in the Florida State League, with Gallardo putting up yet another dominating performance as high Class A Brevard County defeated Jupiter, 5-1. The 20-year-old allowed just one hit over 8 1/3 innings, whiffing 11 and bringing his season strikeout total to a minor-league leading 100 in 73 innings. Meanwhile, Marceaux's season-long struggles continued. The first-round pick last year out of McNeese State pitched well, allowing a run on four hits over 3 2/3 innings, but took the loss. The 22-year-old has lost his last three starts and is now, 0-6, 4.31 in 48 innings for the Hammerheads . . . Tigers righthander Kyle Sleeth started at high Class A Lakeland for the second time in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Sleeth, a first-rounder in 2003, allowed a run on two hits over two innings of work. In five rehab innings, Sleeth has allowed four runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out one . . . Reds righthander Johnny Cueto keeps cruising along at low Class A Dayton. Cueto allowed just one run--a homer by Lansing outfielder Brian Pettway--and struck out seven over five innings. On the season, Cueto is now 6-1, 3.00 with 74 strikeouts and 11 walks in 63 innings for the Dragons . . . Nick Adenhart finally got back in the win column with an 8-6 Cedar Rapids victory against Quad Cities. The 20-year-old righthander hadn't recorded a win since May 19, and bounced back from his last start, when he allowed seven earned runs on nine hits over two innings against Burlington. Friday, Adenhart allowed an earned run on five hits and struck out seven over eight innings. He is now 8-2, 2.07 with an 81-20 strikeout-walk ratio in 82 innings for the Kernels . . . Low Class A Lakewood lefthander Matt Maloney allowed just one hit over 7 2/3 innings in the Blue Claws' 3-0 win against Lake County on Friday. Maloney, a third-round pick of the Phillies last year out of Mississippi, walked two and struck out five . . . Triple-A Charlotte third baseman Josh Fields apparently enjoys Buffalo hunting. In the weekend series against the Herd, Fields went 7-for-11 with six RBIs. In five games against Buffalo this season, the White Sox' first-round pick in 2004 is hitting .500 (12-for-24) with 11 RBIs . . . Speaking of hot, Nationals' first baseman Larry Broadway has put together a solid season so far at Triple-A New Orleans now that he's finally healthy. Broadway, who was battling knee problems for the majority of 2005, has eight hits in his last 12 at-bats, including a 4-for-5 night Saturday. The second-round pick out of Duke in 2002 is hitting .348/.398/.529 in 221 at-bats for the Zephyrs overall . . . Yankees righthander Matt DeSalvo was sent down to Double-A after going a dismal 1-6, 7.68 with a 30-34 strikeout-walk ratio in 39 innings at Columbus. DeSalvo made his first start at Trenton Saturday, picking up the win by allowing two runs on four hits in the Thunder's 5-3 victory against Reading.