Audio: Gutierrez's 11th strikeout
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Danny Gutierrez didn't get much sleep on the eve of Game 1 of the Midwest League Championship Series, but it was the South Bend Silver Hawks who needed a wake-up call.
Gutierrez recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings and combined with three relievers on a two-hitter as the Bees opened the best-of-5 series with a 6-0 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks.
The 21-year-old right-hander allowed a leadoff double and a two-out walk in the first but was dominant after that. He retired 10 straight before a leadoff single in the fifth, then struck out the final six batters he faced.
"I felt like I was locked in," Gutierrez said. "I didn't get a lot of sleep and I was real nervous until the first pitch. I just wanted to come out throwing strikes and give the team a chance to win."
The former 33rd-round pick fanned 10 against Clinton on Sept. 2, 2007 but hadn't struck out more eight in any of his 18 starts this year.
In two postseason starts, Gutierrez (1-0) has given up two runs on seven hits over 12 innings, striking out 17 while walking only two.
"I felt dominant tonight, like I've never felt before," he said. "I got ahead with first-pitch strikes and threw the curve for strikes. My arm feels great, things have been going my way and I just feel real confident right now."
Tony Bradley and Paul Raglione each tossed a perfect inning before Barry Bowden worked a hitless ninth as the Bees moved within two wins of their first Midwest League title since 1999.
The game remained scoreless until the third, when the Bees broke through for four runs. Juan Rivera drew a leadoff walk, David Lough singled with one out and Johnny Giavotella plated Rivera with a base hit before former first-round pick Mike Moustakas smacked a three-run homer.
Giavotella added a solo homer in the sixth and Jamar Walton went deep in the seventh for Burlington, which hosts Game 2 on Thursday.
South Bend starter Jarrod Parker (1-1) gave up four runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts in five innings.
Winston Linton and Derrick Walker had the only hits for the Silver Hawks.
Steve Conley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.