Dodgers pitcher Scott Baker came within one out of a seven-inning perfect game for Triple-A Oklahoma City, but settled for a two-hit shutout in the first game of a doubleheader against the Iowa Cubs on Monday afternoon at Principal Park in Des Moines.
Oklahoma City won 8-0, their fifth straight win.
Baker retired the first 20 batters he faced on Monday, one out away from a perfect game, but uber prospect Addison Russell singled to center field on an 0-2 pitch to break up history. Old friend Mike Baxter followed with a double off the right field wall to put two runners in scoring position, but Chris Valaika grounded out to Buck Britton at third base to end the game.
Baker needed just 77 pitches, 57 for strikes, to get through his seven innings, and struck out four. He induced 13 ground ball outs, including all three outs in the seventh inning.
The game was only seven innings because the clubs were making up a rain out from Saturday, and minor league doubleheaders shorten each game by two innings.
Oklahoma City's play-by-play broadcaster weighed in:
Always say one of the best parts of the job is that you never know what you'll see when you show up, good or disappointing (1/2)— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) April 20, 2015
And yes, that includes seeing a perfect game getting broken up on an 0-2 pitch with 2 outs in the final inning (2/2)— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) April 20, 2015
The Dodgers signed Baker to a minor league contract on April 3, and he has impressed in his three starts with Oklahoma City so far. Baker has allowed two runs on 10 hits in 17 innings so far, with 16 strikeouts and just one walk. But by pitching on Monday, Baker is out of the running should the Dodgers choose to slot their fifth starter in on Thursday or Friday this week, because he'd be on short rest.