Daniel Poncedeleon was sensational 14 months after suffering a severe head injury, throwing no-hit ball for seven innings Monday night before Eugenio Suarez led the Cincinnati Reds' rally in the ninth for a 2-1 victory.
The 26-year-old right-hander was hit on the right temple by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Memphis on May 9 last year, fracturing his skull and causing bleeding in the brain. He had emergency surgery followed by months of slow recovery.
Poncedeleon was one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League when St. Louis called him up Monday to help their injury-depleted rotation. With 10 family members cheering from the stands, he walked three and struck out three , threw 116 pitches and gave way to a pinch-hitter in the eighth with St. Louis up 1-0.
Poncedeleon prayed for calmness before his debut, went to the bullpen to warm up and hurt his neck on one pitch.
The neck was fine once the game began. Poncedeleon joined the Dodgers' Ross Stripling as the only major leaguers to throw at least seven no-hit innings in their debuts since 1908.
Given his high pitch count, Shildt had no thought about leaving him in.
Jordan Hicks gave up a one-out single up the middle by pinch-hitter Phillip Ervin in the eighth for Cincinnati's first hit.
Suarez's two-out, solo homer off Bud Norris (3-3) tied it 1-1. The closer then loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, and pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera singled to end the Reds' losing streak at four games. Jared Hughes (3-3) pitched the ninth.
Matt Carpenter had a pair of hits that extended his streak, including a double in the fifth inning off Luis Castillo. Yadier Molina followed with a single for his 17th RBI against the Reds this season, the most by any major league player against Cincinnati.
Carpenter homered in six straight games last week, a streak that ended on Sunday. He's 14 for 28 in the last eight games.
LHP Austin Gomber (0-0) makes his first major league start after 15 relief appearances this season as the Reds Homer Bailey (1-7) returns from the DL and makes his first start since May 28.