The long road back to the Bronx might have gotten shorter for Ian Kennedy on Thursday.
Kennedy struck out seven and fell one out shy of a no-hitter as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees topped the visiting Richmond Braves, 4-1, in the second game of a doubleheader.
The right-hander hurled 6 2/3 hitless frames before Scott Thorman lined a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to break it up. Ben Broussard gave the Yankees a win with a walk-off three-run homer in the eighth.
Kennedy began the season in New York's rotation but was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 28. After several rehab starts, he was activated but remained in the Minors with an 0-3 record and a 7.41 ERA in eight starts for the Bronx Bombers. He did not walk a batter in seven innings Thursday, lowering his Triple-A ERA to 2.16 in his seventh outing.
Kennedy cruised through six innings and held a 1-0 lead in the seventh when Barbaro Canizares reached on second baseman Chris Basak's fielding error with two outs. Thorman followed and lined the first pitch he saw to deep right, just out of the reach of right fielder Greg Porter to break up the no-no.
Kennedy induced an inning-ending grounder from Carl Loadenthal to end his night and waved to fans after being pulled before the eighth. He threw 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
It would have been the fourth seven-inning no-hitter in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre history. Jeremy Cummings threw the last one for the club on Sept. 3, 2006, the only nine-inning no-hitter in franchise history.
Kennedy took a perfect game into the fourth, but Josh Anderson reached on Basak's first fielding error. Anderson was thrown out stealing, and Brandon Jones became the second baserunner when he reached with two outs on first baseman Juan Miranda's fielding error.
Scott Strickland (3-0) struck out the side in the eighth to earn the win for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (64-43).
The Yankees finally gave Kennedy a run in the fifth when Alberto Gonzalez singled home Chris Stewart with two outs.
Across the diamond from Kennedy was Richmond starter Matt DeSalvo, a former teammate who appeared in seven games for New York last season. DeSalvo struck out five and held the Yankees to a run on five hits over five frames. Reliever Ryan Basner (1-2) took the loss after allowing three runs in the eighth for the Braves (44-61).
Kennedy was the Yankees' first-round pick in 2006 and was named MiLB.com's Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2007. He skyrocketed through the Bombers' farm system and posted a 1.89 ERA in three starts last September after being called up to the Bronx. He last appeared in the Majors on May 27 in a no-decision against Baltimore.
Danny Wild is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.