Dickey sits 27 straight in win

It wasn’t a no-hitter. It was better.

In possibly the most dominating performance in Coca-Cola Field history, Bisons’ hurler R.A. Dickey retired a record 27 consecutive batters in a 4-0 masterpiece over the Durham Bulls on Thursday night.

Dickey gave up a single to the first batter he faced and then put the clamps down for a shade under two hours. Needing only 90 pitches, he mowed down the best hitting club in the International League in a complete-game for the ages.

All that stood in the way of Dickey making even more history was an 0-2 knuckleball that just stayed a little two high in the zone. Bulls’ lead-off hitter Fernando Perez went the opposite way with the pitch, poking a single through the right side of the Bisons infield to lead off the game.

Coincidentally, the first no-hitter in the minor leagues in 2010 occurred just a night early in Gwinnett. Norfolk’s Chris Tillman threw a no-no in a 6-0 win over the Braves on Wednesday.

The Bisons’ lone no-hitter is compliments of Bartolo Colon against New Orleans on June 20, 1997. Colon walked a batter in the first inning, so he only retired 25 in a row on his night.

After the lone mistake of the night, Dickey started his string of retired batters with a strike out of Rashad Eldridge -one of Dickey’s six punchouts. He then got Elliot Johnson and the league’s top hitter, Hank Blalock, to fly out to left to close out the first.

The rest seemed like easy work for Dickey. He induced a total of 12 ground outs and nine flyball outs. He had just one three-ball count and maxed out on pitches when he tossed 13 to get through the ninth inning. Dickey needed just seven pitches in the eighth inning and eight in the fifth inning to close out those frames.

All told, Dickey through 68 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

At an hour and 45 minutes, Dickey’s night was the second shortest nine-inning game in Coca-Cola Field history. It was just three minutes longer than a 2-1 loss to Louisville on August 5, 1993.

One run was enough for Dickey and the Bisons got that in the fourth inning. Jesus Feliciano led off with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Two groundouts later and the Herd had all the offense they needed.

Buffalo added insurance with a pair of runs in the seventh and one more in the eighth thanks to Ruben Tejada’s first Triple-A home run.

BISONS NOTES:The Bulls entered the game with an International League-best .299 team batting average. Dickey knocked down the average by nine points in one night…Jesus Feliciano extended his hit streak to eight games. He has 11 hits in his last five games and is now hitting .389 on the season…Mike Hessman drove home his team-leading 20th run.

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