Tim Crabbe and Dan Rohlfing met for the first time Wednesday. A day later, they were working on a no-hitter together as a battery.
With help from the Twins catcher, Crabbe (Reds) did not allow a hit over four innings Thursday in Peoria's 8-2 win over Mesa in the Arizona Fall League on Thursday.
"I was throwing a lot of fastballs early in counts and mixed in a few changeups and sliders here and there, just trying to keep it really simple," Crabbe said. "The catcher just got in here yesterday. So we had a chat last night and talked about not trying to do anything too special."
The right-hander worked around a one-out walk in the first inning before retiring the next 11 batters to end his day. He struck out two, throwing 29 of his 46 pitches for strikes in his third AFL start.
Despite the groove he was in, Crabbe knew that he wouldn't be fighting for a chance to keep the no-no going, given the nature of his environment.
"Having a no-hitter here isn't as big of a deal because you know you're going to be coming out eventually," he said. "It's not something we're really focused on. We're all just trying to get our work in and continue to grow and go from there."
The 24-year-old, a 14th-round pick in 2009, went 8-8 with a 4.25 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 144 innings at two levels in the Reds' system this year. An Arizona native, the right-hander has given up two runs over nine innings in his three AFL starts and says there is still room to grow.
"I've got to just keep working every day while I'm down here," Crabbe said. "Working with our pitching coach (Lance Painter) and continue to get information from the organization on what I need to focus on. ... Right now, it's mostly mechanical stuff, mostly things that will allow me to better able to pitch in the zone consistently."
Padres lefty Josh Spence came on to begin the fifth, and that's when Mesa, looking to snap a eight-game losing streak, managed to take the lead without a hit. Cubs' top prospect Javier Baez drew a one-out walk, stole second, advanced to third on first baseman Donald Lutz's fielding error, and when Spence made a move to first, stole home for a 1-0 edge.
Spence got a double play to end the inning, but Mesa finally broke up the no-hitter in the sixth when Astros prospect George Springer lined a two-out single.
Peoria tied up the game in the seventh when Cody Asche (Phillies) doubled home Nate Freiman (Padres) from second off Clay Schrader (Orioles). Nick Franklin, Seattle's No. 3 prospect, added some insurance with a two-run homer in the eighth before Freiman scored again on Rohlfing's sacrifice fly.
Minnesota relievers Michael Tonkin and Logan Darnell pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings to secure the lead. Curtis Partch (Reds) allowed a run in the ninth, but Mesa (3-11) ended up dropping its ninth straight contest.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. Sam Dykstra of MLB.com contributed to this report.