Two outs from history, one strike from victory.
Zack Shannon’s home run that just got over the left-field fence at Community Field ruined the night.
Shannon’s two-run homer in the ninth inning off Luke Lind gave the Kane County Cougars a 2-1 win over the Burlington Bees to open the second half of the Class A Midwest League season on Thursday night.
It was a night when Bees starting pitcher Hector Yan turned in another brilliant performance, but it ended with disappointment.
Yan pitched five no-hit innings in Saturday’s 7-1 win at Peoria, and the no-hitter was broken up with two outs in the ninth inning by Chiefs catcher Ivan Herrera.
In this game, Yan pitched 6 ⅓ no-hit innings, and the no-hitter was broken up by another catcher named Herrera — Jose Herrera, who dropped a single into right field off Lind with one out.
Yan walked four and struck out seven. He has a streak of 15 innings without giving up a run and 11 innings without a hit.
Yan, a left-hander who is ranked the No. 29 prospect in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization, threw 89 pitches, 50 for strikes.
“At first, the splitter was working, and the slider,” Yan said through a translator. “I felt I had to get adjusted in the first inning, so I was relying on my fastball. I kind of felt the pressure with the first game back (from the All-Star break). Once I was able to make the adjustment and feel my way through it, I felt a lot better.
“I didn’t really worry about Saturday’s game. I felt like that was in the past, left it behind me. I just came in, attacked the zone, do what I do.”
“I thought he was outstanding,” said Angels field coordinator Chad Tracy, who is filling in as manager for Jack Howell for this weekend’s series. “He used his stuff. His fastball was electric, especially at the top of the (strike) zone, he got a lot of swings and misses. He threw some really good sliders down and in to righties — he got some swings and misses with that.”
Yan is 2-0 with an 0.44 earned run average in four starts in June after going 0-1 with a 4.41 ERA in May. He has 29 strikeouts in 20 ⅔ innings.
“He was excellent, and he’s been excellent for an extended period now,” Tracy said.
“I’m getting used to my pitches,” Yan said. “I’m finally feeling confident in them. I do feel like I’m getting comfortable now and making adjustments.”
Tracy was comfortable in getting Yan out on the mound in the seventh inning. Yan was at 81 pitches to start the inning, and Tracy wanted to get him to 90.
Yan walked Joey Rose to open the inning, but struck out Shannon for the first out. He was at 89 pitches at that point, and his night was over.
“We’ve got pitch counts we want to get them to,” Tracy said. “I view every out as an opportunity to develop, and we had about eight or nine pitches of breathing room. So I was like, ‘Let’s send him out to get a couple of hitters.’ And sure enough, he pitched to a couple of hitters, he only got one of them. But we wanted to get him to 90, 90-plus (pitches). And he rewarded us with the way he got that second hitter.”
Bees reliever Parker Joe Robinson kept the no-hitter going, striking out three in 1 ⅓ innings.
Lind (2-1) started the ninth by getting KeShawn Lynch on a popup. Herrera followed with his single, then Rose popped out to first baseman D.C. Arendas.
Lind got to 1-2 on Shannon, but the Cougars’ first baseman hit a high fly ball that left fielder Nonie Williams tracked until it got over the wall.
Kevin Maitan’s single in the eighth scored Alvaro Rubalcaba with the Bees’ lone run.
Burlington had just three hits — Williams and Spencer Griffin had singles in the fourth inning.
Ryan Miller (2-4) was the winning pitcher. Kai-Wei Lin struck out three in the ninth for his first save.
ON DECK: The two teams continue the four-game series with a 6:30 p.m. game on Friday.
NOTES: The last Bees no-hitter was on August 7, 2008, when Danny Duffy and Juan Abreu combined for the win against Peoria. … Maitan was 1-for-3 and reached base twice. He is batting .333 against Kane County this season. … Attendance was 785.
Photo of Hector Yan courtesy of Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees