Even when the runs are tough to come by, Brandon Workman keeps on rolling.
Boston's No. 13 prospect tied a season high with nine strikeouts and gave up four hits over seven innings as Double-A Portland slipped by Binghamton, 1-0, on Wednesday.
For the first time this season, Workman did not issue a base on balls while throwing 49 of his 70 pitches for strikes. The 24-year-old right-hander retired nine in a row at one point in his longest outing of the year.
"I had a good mix of pitches," said Workman, who throws a fastball, a curveball, a cutter and a changeup. "I was throwing them all for strikes and they were all pretty sharp."
Workman, who called the curve and fastball his strikeout pitches Wednesday, has fanned 25 batters in 18 innings for the Sea Dogs this season. The Texas native is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts and has allowed 12 baserunners in that stretch.
"I feel like I've just done a good job of being in the strike zone and not putting guys on base and being in the bottom of the strike zone," he said. "It's something I've been working on forever, like with any pitcher it's better when you're down in the zone than up. I feel like there's been a couple of pitches I wish I could have back, but other than that, it's been a strong start to the year."
After winning a career-high 10 games last season, the 2010 second-round pick is on pace to eclipse that mark, while pitching a couple stops away from the Majors. To sustain the early success, Workman feels he just has to continue with what has yielded positive results thus far.
"I just have to stay consistent with all my pitches," he said. "I need to have all my pitches working."
Jacob DeGrom (0-1), the Mets' No. 12 prospect, allowed a run on three hits and struck out eight over eight innings for the Mets. Workman credited the hurler for helping set the tone of the game.
"The guy going against me tonight was throwing the ball really well," Workman said. "It was a tight game all the way through, it helps you stay focused. You can't make a mistake because you can't afford to."
Chris Martin allowed two hits and struck out three over the final two innings to record the save for Portland.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston's top prospect, doubled and scored the game's only run in the fourth on Tony Thomas' sacrifice fly.