This afternoon in New Orleans, left-hander Chris Rusin pitched a nine-inning no-hitter as the Iowa Cubs defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs, 3-0.
Rusin dominated the Marlins farm club the entire game. After walking the second batter he faced, Rusin retired the next 17 batters before issuing a leadoff walk to start the seventh inning. But any threat in the seventh ended quickly when, after a flyout to center field, Rusin ended the inning by inducing a 3-6-1 double play out of former Cubs farmhand Justin Bour.
Rusin retired the side in order in the eighth inning. Things got slightly interesting in the ninth inning when leadoff hitter Kyle Skipworth reached on catcher's interference and went to second base on a wild pitch. But then Rusin retired Zack Cox on a soft liner to short and Matt Angle on a ground ball back to the pitcher. With two outs in the ninth and the no-hitter on the line, Rusin induced a lazy pop fly out of Josh Rodriguez. But things got scary as the pop fly was headed to that no-man's land between center field and second base. But Matt Szczur left his feet to make a great catch and clinch the no-hitter for Rusin.
Rusin won this game by keeping the ball on the ground. He retired 15 batters by a groundout and only six through a fly ball to the outfield. Rusin struck out three. He threw 118 pitches, 72 of which were strikes. Among the victims on the Zephyrs was his former teammate in Chicago last season, Brian Bogusevic.
Iowa scored all three of its runs in the second inning, and there Rusin did most of the work as well. He hit a two-run single that scored Christian Villanueva and Brett Jackson. Since the only other run came when Josh Vitters scored on a passed ball, Rusin had all the RBI in this game as well as throwing a no-hitter. Rusin had another single to go 2 for 4 at the plate.
Vitters was also 2 for 4, although his HR streak was snapped at three games. Javier Baez had his best game at the plate in a while, going 3 for 5.
Rusin pitched effectively in five innings of relief against the Cardinals on April 12. He allowed only one run over five innings after taking over for Carlos Villanueva, who had been shelled for nine runs in three innings. That was his only major league action this season. Over 20 major league starts and the one relief appearance over the past three seasons, Rusin has a major league record of 4-9 with a 4.54 ERA.
This season in Iowa, Rusin is 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA in six starts.
The no-hitter was the first of any kind for the Iowa Cubs since Reggie Patterson no-hit the Omaha Royals on August 21, 1984.