The last time Brady Dragmire appeared in front of the home crowd at FNB Field, the right-hander pitched through snow squalls on his way to a no-decision against Reading. Saturday night, Dragmire was the one that froze Altoona’s bats as he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning on his way to his second win of the season on a career-high eight innings pitched.
“There’s going to be days where you leave it up a little in the zone and they tee off,” Dragmire said. “There’s going to be days where everything just happens to be going your way and today happened to one of those days.”
The 25-year-old pitcher retired the first 15 batters he faced on only 47 pitches before Stephen Alamais led off the sixth inning with a hit. The Altoona second baseman hit a shot to Kelvin Gutierrez’ right that the third baseman gloved but the throw bounced past first baseman Drew Ward. A fly ball advanced Alamais to third and an RBI groundout followed to end the shutout.
But other than that one unearned blemish, Dragmire was in control the entire evening.
That was also the only baserunner Dragmire allowed as he struck out three and didn’t walk anybody on his way to a 76-pitch gem. Roman Mendez pitched a perfect ninth inning for Harrisburg keeping Tyler Mapes’ complete game at Erie on July 18, 2016 the last 9-inning one thrown by a Senator.
“Every game plan, every start I’m just going out there trying to let the two-seam do its work,” Dragmire said. “I want to put groundballs in play as often and as quick as possible. It just happened to fit that mold perfectly today.”
Dragmire’s last outing against the Yard Goats in Hartford was also his worst of the young season. He allowed six runs on nine hits in only 4.2 innings before being chased from the game with back-to-back home runs.
“What I’m most impressed with is he was able to throw out his last start,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “He got away from his strength in his last start and he went back to it tonight which I got excited about because you saw a lot of groundball outs. If you’re going to be a sinkerballer, you’re either going to win quickly or lose quickly.
“That’s a big confidence booster after he had a rough one.”
Gutierrez may not have been able to throw out Alamais on the lone hit, but the third baseman made a number of dazzling plays in the field to keep Curve batters off the basepaths.
“Gutierrez at third base put on some show,” Dragmire said. “The whole infield for that matter. It’s not just me, but there are eight other guys out there.”
“He’s starting to hone in and focusing and doing a lot of things he’s capable of doing,” LeCroy said of his rising player at the hot corner. “Sometimes he takes plays for granted. I think he’s starting to realize if he can bring it every night with that focus and attention to detail, he’s going to be one of the best defenders in this league.”