Redbirds pitcher almost makes history

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Memphis, TN-Redbirds starter Tim Cooney authored a one-hit, complete-game shutout as Memphis blanked the visiting Iowa Cubs, 4-0, on Thursday night at AutoZone Park.

The 23-year-old left-hander was one out away from recording the first no-hitter in franchise history before Iowa’s Arismendy Alcantara singled to left in the bottom of the ninth.

The left-hander retired 27 of his 30 batters faced on the evening, striking out seven and walking two over a career-high nine innings. Seventy-three of his 101 pitches were thrown for strikes.

Cooney’s one-hitter was the fourth occurrence in Redbirds history, joining Clint Sodowsky (April 29, 1999 vs. Salt Lake), Brett Reames (August 8, 2000 vs. Sacramento), and Anthony Reyes (May 19, 2005 vs. Portland).

Cooney sat down 13 straight batters to start the game before walking outfielder Ryan Kalish on four pitches with one out in the fifth. The 23-year-old followed by retiring the next 13 in a row before his other walk in the ninth. Cooney would end his night by striking out Javier Baez, stranding two runners, and preserving the shutout.

Five of the Redbirds’ eight hits were doubles. Outfielder Tommy Pham (2-for-4) doubled twice while driving in three. Shortstop Pete Kozma (3-for-4) recorded two doubles and scored two runs. Outfielder Randal Grichuk (1-for-4) jacked his team-leading 10th home run.

Grichuk gave the Redbirds a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning with a solo blast to left onto the TruGreen Bluff. Six of Grichuk’s 10 homers have been hit in the first inning this season.

Memphis upped its lead to 4-0 on a pair of run-scoring doubles by Pham in the fourth and seventh innings, both times scoring Kozma who reached on his own two-baggers. Pham’s second double of the game scored Kozma and Jermaine Curtis in the seventh.

Right fielder Stephen Piscotty made two fantastic catches in the game. His first diving effort robbed Matt Szczur of a hit to begin the contest. The 23-year-old outfielder also caught a hard liner from Jonathan Mota in the top of the ninth before Alcantara singled.