Team Colombia left-hander Jose Quintana was nearly flawless in 5 2/3 innings against Team USA in Round 1 of the World Baseball Classic on Friday in a 3-2, 10-inning loss at Marlins Park.
Pitching before his parents and many longtime friends, who traveled to Miami for the Pool C opener, Quintana methodically worked through a lineup full of All-Stars. He had a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings before allowing a single to Brandon Crawford, the final batter he faced.
"This could be one of his best games in professional baseball, not only for his value, because he was representing his country, but what he did with his pitching," said Colombia manager Luis Urueta.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
On a 65-pitch limit in the opening round, Quintana tossed 63 pitches, 44 of them strikes. The biggest key to his success was getting ahead of hitters, as he tossed a first-pitch strike to 15 of 18 batters faced.
Urueta was especially impressed with how Quintana was able to keep Team USA hitters off balance with his fastball and changeup, and then occasionally work in his curveball.
The only other baserunner Quintana allowed was Paul Goldschmidt, who drew a leadoff walk in the second inning.
"The only way to focus was to feel the country behind me clapping for me, and with a big dream such as tonight, that's what gave me the desire to try to keep the game close," said Quintana.
The lefty was matched pitch for pitch by Chris Archer, who tossed four perfect innings.
The hardest-hit ball off Quintana came in the fourth, off the bat of Ian Kinsler, who hit a 400-foot fly ball to straightaway center field that was caught at the warning track by Tito Polo.
Polo, along with right fielder Wilson Valdez, made a handful of diving and leaping catches to keep Quintana's no-hitter intact and the team in the game.
Although the final result may not have been what Quintana hoped for, he is proud to have represented his country on such a big stage.
"It is a pleasure for me to wear this shirt. I have no words to describe this moment, but I was very upset by the result. We had a lot of chances to be victorious," he said. "But as I said at the beginning, we did not come here to enjoy ourselves. We have the dream to go on to the second round. I think it's clear what Colombia is all about. We could not get the victory, but we did things the right way."
The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.