If you tracked the Bay Area news this morning, you probably noticed the top stories were BART and Homer.
That’s what happens when mass transit and the bats of the San Francisco Giants are completely silenced on the same day.
While Homer Bailey’s no-no against the Giants was the first this season in major league baseball, there have been two in the minor in the last week, and both have local ties.
Prior to Wednesday’s game against San Jose, the Modesto Nuts honored Dan Winkler, Nelson Gonzalez and Scott Oberg for their combined no-hit effort in San Jose on Monday, June 24. It was the first combined no-hitter in Modesto franchise history and the first for since Joe Law blanked Stockton 1-0 on Aug. 15, 1987.
Then, on Sunday, minor league journeyman Eddie Gamboa, a Merced High graduate, threw a seven-inning no-hitter for Baltimore’s Double-A Bowie affiliate in the first game of a doubleheader against Harrisburg.
Gamboa, 28 and a six-year minor league veteran since signing out of UC Davis, has made the conversion from hard-throwing righty to knuckleballer.
And so far, the knuckler has been friendly to Gamboa. In 93 innings with Bowie, Gamboa has 76 strikeouts and a 3.48 ERA in 93 innings to go with his 4-5 record.
Gamboa’s no-no was anything but a fluke. The previous Sunday he lost a no-no bid with one out in the eighth inning of a game against Altoona. It means in his last two starts, Gamboa is 2-0, 0.00, with one hit, six walks and 12 strikeouts in 14 ⅓ innings of work.
And two starts prior to that, in a game at Reading, Gamboa allowed no runs on three hits over seven innings.
Gamboa’s success this season is all the more remarkable when you consider this is his first season as a knuckleballer. He’s been stuck at the Double-A level, bouncing between the BaySox rotation and bullpen, but seems to have gained a new life in the Orioles’ eyes with his new pitch.