MINNEAPOLIS -- Almost perfect. That was right-hander Brooks Pounders as he pitched a no-hitter for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals' Double-A afilliate, to stifle the Midland RockHounds, 11-0, on Thursday night at Springdale, Ark.
Pounders retired 27 of 29 batters. The only baserunners came on a third-inning error and a fifth-inning hit batsman. Pounders struck out six, using 98 pitches, including 70 strikes.
It was the third no-hitter in Naturals' history, but the first by just one pitcher. Will Smith threw seven no-hit innings and Kelvin Herrera finished the job with two perfect innings on July 19, 2011, against the Arkansas Travelers. Greg Holland, on a rehab assignment, threw one inning of a May 10, 2012, no-hitter against the Springfield Cardinals. Chris Dwyer followed with 6 2/3 hitless innings, while Brendan Lafferty and Kendal Volz combined to get the last four outs.
Pounders, 22, was acquired by the Royals after the 2011 season from Pittsburgh for infielder Yamaico Navarro. Pounders has a 3-4 record and a 4.02 ERA in 18 games (10 starts).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.