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Bradley stays on the winning track
D-backs' No. 2 prospect fans nine, remains unbeaten in 2013
05/14/2013 12:54 AM ET
Archie Bradley was limited to two innings in his previous start.
Archie Bradley was limited to two innings in his previous start. (Chip English/Mobile BayBears)

While Archie Bradley won his fourth consecutive decision Monday night, a bigger trend featuring the young right-hander began to emerge.

Neither Class A Advanced Visalia nor Double-A Mobile has lost a game in which Bradley has started this year. That makes him a perfect 8-0. For Bradley, that's the most important thing.

Arizona's No. 2 prospect struck out nine batters over six shutout innings in the BayBears' 3-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns.

"It's a good stat, I didn't know that," first-rounder Bradley said. "Obviously I'm just trying to do my part. I pride myself on pitching quickly and throwing strikes and getting everybody involved. It's never fun to play behind a guy that steps off the mound and takes too long between pitches.

"I'm pretty vocal. I wouldn't say I'm emotional, but I'm passionate about what I do. I'm always talking guys up. I talk to guys on the field and I talk in the dugout. I'll talk to my catcher about pitches or I'll talk to my shortstop about the signs. I'm just keeping myself loose."

Between the two levels, Bradley is 4-0 with an 0.64 ERA. He has struck out a Minors-best 63 batters, issued 16 walks and limited opponents to one homer in 45 2/3 innings. No other pitcher in the Minors has more than 58 punchouts through the first six weeks of the season.

On Monday, MLB.com's No. 24 prospect stranded two runners on base in the first inning and two more again in the second.

Only one Jacksonville hitter got the ball out of the infield over the next four innings. Kyle Jensen flew out to right field in the sixth against Bradley, who set down 12 of the final 14 batters he faced.

"I was getting ahead and getting that first hitter out in each inning and trying to stay in positive counts," said Bradley, who allowed two hits -- a pair of second-inning singles -- and three walks in his third Southern League start.

"[My changeup] was good. I didn't throw it many times, maybe five times if that. I was never really in a situation when I needed it. I got a ground ball and two or three swing-and-misses, but I'm still working on it and every time it's getting better and better."

Selected seventh overall in the 2011 Draft out of Broken Arrow Senior High School in Oklahoma, Bradley said he felt no lingering effects from his previous start on Wednesday when he was taken out in the second inning after sliding hard into second base.

"It's good. I kinda slid awkwardly and jammed it and I came out for precautionary reasons because we didn't want to push it. It just felt better and better every day. Fortunately it wasn't worse.

"It was a little tight [on Thursday], maybe a little sore, but nothing that concerned me. I played catch, I ran, I threw my bullpen."

Back on track Monday evening, the 20-year-old picked up right where he left off. The last time he or his team took a loss was in his penultimate start of 2012, when he gave up six runs over 5 2/3 innings for Class A South Bend.

Since then, the 6-foot-4 Oklahoma native has earned two wins for Visalia -- one each on the road against Modesto and Bakersfield. He struck out nine batters on Opening Day against San Jose, but left an eventual 1-0 victory with the game scoreless. Five days later at home to the Blaze, he recorded 10 strikeouts, exited with a 1-0 lead, but did not factor in the decision after the bullpen lost the lead before the Rawhide bats rallied late.

In his April 20 start against Lake Elsinore, Bradley was on the hook for the loss. But Visalia tied the game in the seventh an inning after he departed before taking the lead for good in the following frame.

Bradley then won his Double-A debut against Huntsville on April 2, and the BayBears never trailed against the Lookouts last Wednesday.

"The defense has picked me up," he said. "There were some balls hit tonight, some ground balls that weren't in the hole but that made my shortstop [Nick Ahmed] move, the one that [Christian] Yelich hit to my first baseman [Nick Evans] and some big league flies."

On Monday, Bryan Woodall gave up two unearned runs in the seventh, Eric Smith worked around a hit in the eighth and Kevin Munson struck out two batters in a perfect ninth to seal the victory for his fifth save of the season.

Jacksonville's Sam Dyson (0-3) yielded three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and three walks while striking out two batters over 4 2/3 innings.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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