David Goforth learned a valuable lesson in his first Southern League start: Throw strike one. That lesson proved crucial on Monday.
The right-handed Brewers prospect allowed two hits over seven innings to notch the first complete-game shutout of his career as Double-A Huntsville blanked Tennessee, 2-0, in the opener of their doubleheader.
Goforth fanned four and gave up one walk while throwing 53 of his 83 pitches for strikes. He allowed just one runner, Jonathan Mota, to reach second base in the sixth inning.
"I was just able to get ahead of guys and pretty much just work with my fastball all night," the 24-year-old said. "My secondary pitches weren't as sharp as they have been in the past. I was able to show some breaking pitches, it wasn't like I didn't have any feel for a breaking pitch. I feel like the best pitch in baseball is a well-located fastball."
Goforth (2-1) was promoted to Double-A on June 25. In that first start against Birmingham, he allowed six runs on six hits and walked four over 2 2/3 innings. Despite the disheartening numbers, Goforth learned something that day.
"I was behind guys that whole start," he said. "At any level, doesn't matter if it's Double-A or Rookie ball, if you get behind guys, these guys are professional hitters. They are going to get hits and hit the ball hard. That was the biggest thing, not getting behind guys and putting the hitters in good counts to make contact.
"The one major difference that I realized guys don't chase many pitches out of the zone. They will if you get ahead, but the main thing is making your pitches look like a strike out of your hand. If you can get ahead of guys, it's pretty much the same. That was biggest thing I had to get used to."
The Mississippi native went 7-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 14 Florida State League starts for Class A Advanced Brevard County. Since joining the Stars, he is 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA.
Mike Walker's two-run double in the fourth inning accounted for the Stars offense. Walker finished with three of the club's five hits.
Kyle Hendricks fell to 8-3 after allowing two runs on two hits and striking out five over five innings for the Smokies.