In his Triple-A debut last Thursday, Cole Hamels struck out 14 batters over seven shutout innings. On Tuesday afternoon, he somehow found a way to improve on those numbers.
Hamels -- the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies' organization -- tossed a two-hit complete game shutout as visiting Scranton Wilkes-Barre rolled to a 5-0 victory over Richmond, and in doing so became the first player to earn the MiLB.com Star of the Day twice this season.
The 2002 first-round pick has spent the bulk of the past two seasons on the disabled list but showed just how dominating he can be when healthy. He struck out 12 batters while walking just one, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced in the ballgame before surrendering a two-out single to Scott Thorman in the fourth inning. The only other Richmond batter to hit safely was Wes Timmons, who doubled with one out in the ninth frame.
Despite Timmons' two-bagger, Hamels showed no signs of wearing down as the game went on. In fact, six of the last nine outs he recorded were strikeouts, and he fanned the side in the ninth inning. All told, the 22-year-old lefty threw 114 pitches, 76 for strikes.
And if all that wasn't enough, Hamels helped his own cause with a ninth-inning single that drove in the third of the Red Barons' five runs.
Over two Triple-A starts, Hamels has struck out 26 batters over 16 shutout innings while allowing five hits and just one walk. His only other professional shutout came was a seven-inning outing in 2003, when he was a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.