Trevor May walked the first batter he faced on Tuesday on four straight pitches. It was one of a precious few mistakes he would make over the ensuing 7 2/3 innings.
The No. 7 Twins prospect recorded his longest start of the season, scattering four hits while striking out nine (one short of his season high) to lead New Britain in an 8-0 blanking of Erie.
"I felt like pretty much everything was working," May said. "I walked that first guy and then told myself I had to get the other stuff going, get a bit more confidence and things fell into place. I hit my spots, got ahead early and got a couple quick outs. Things just flowed from there."
May (6-3) has been steadily improving as the season has gone along. He now has a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings in June, after his ERA was 3.82 in 33 frames in May and 4.63 in 25 1/3 April innings.
With a 3.56 ERA overall and 76 strikeouts to 38 walks in 78 1/3 frames, he's shown a nice rebound after getting traded from Philadelphia to Minnesota for Ben Revere in the offseason and posting a 4.87 ERA in the Eastern League for Reading in 2012.
"You know when I was traded there were a little bit of mixed feelings, of course. But I think it's great to get traded 'cause you know the team wants you, is excited about you. It's all been positive from my side," he said. "I like where I'm at, happy with everything that's happened."
He added that his struggles from last season gave him a much better idea of how to succeed now.
"It's about battling when things aren't going your way, it's something you have to learn," he said. "Sometimes you gotta get beat up a little bit and I got beat up a little bit last year. You have to have an approach every outing that you think will play in the big leagues, 'cause they say if you can dominate at this level, you can pitch at the big league level. It's all about staying with a plan regardless of the results.
"That was something I didn't do well last year. I didn't have an approach a lot of times, I was just hoping the results would be good. So it's something I've developed this year, taking steps in the right direction. I've put so much time and so much effort into finding who I am as a pitcher, and it's starting to fall together."
The 2008 fourth-rounder added that having an approach with purpose mainly came down to having the confidence to execute it.
"I feel like I'm a power guy, but I don't have a 100-mph fastball. I work in the low-90s, run it to the mids. So something I've learned is how to establish the fastball while using other pitches. In the end, it's all about having confidence to throw anything you want when you need it for a strike," he said.
Rock Cats leadoff man Danny Santana went 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Nate Hanson contributed a double and three RBIs and sixth-ranked Twins prospect Eddie Rosario reached safely three times and scored twice.