Ever since Erik Goeddel got a grip, he's had a pretty firm hold on the Eastern League.
The Mets' prospect allowed two hits and struck out four over seven innings for his fourth straight win Tuesday night as Double-A Binghamton blanked Trenton, 8-0, at NYSEG Stadium.
After walking Ramon Flores and giving up a single to Yankees No. 4 prospect Slade Heathcott to start the game, Goeddel (5-2) retired 16 straight batters. Flores ended the streak in the sixth inning when he reached on a one-out error by second baseman Danny Muno.
The 24-year-old right-hander issued just one walk while throwing 69 of 102 pitches for strikes in his longest start of the season.
"All my pitches felt good today," Goeddel said. "None of them in particular were great, all of them were serviceable. When you can keep hitters off-balance and stay ahead of them, things tend to go your away."
Goeddel throws four pitches -- fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. It's the last one that's made the biggest difference over the last month he's won four straight decisions since May 4.
"I changed my grip on it about a month ago," he said. "It used to come in about 84 mph and now it's in the 80-81 range and it's getting more swing-throughs. I'm using it in ways that I haven't before. Now I can throw it first pitch or with strikes, times when I couldn't before. That added versatility has helped me out."
Not coincidentally, it was in that May 4 start against Harrisburg that Goeddel debuted the new grip. That's because he was hit hard in the season's first month, going 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA and .326 batting average against.
"I don't know if it was the game before or a few games before, I thought I was throwing it well and guys were getting hits off it," the UCLA product said. "I changed it from a two-seam look to a four-seam look. It looks more like a fastball."
The drop in velocity and change in grip complement his fastball perfectly, providing a 10-12 mph difference between the two pitches, according to Goeddel, who lowered his ERA to 4.40 on Tuesday.
It's not the only change the 2010 24th-round Draft pick has implemented. He's also made an effort to be more aggressive on the mound.
"I'm just trying to attack hitters more, make the innings quicker," Goeddel said. "I had a game where we were up big and I could only get through four, and it woke me up. I've been throwing more strikes and have been able to go deeper into the games."
Cesar Puello, the Mets' No. 14 prospect, homered for the second straight game, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Muno doubled twice and also drove in three runs.
Thunder starter Zach Nuding fell to 2-7 after allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out five over six innings.