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Matzek pitches six one-hit innings
Rockies prospect strikes out four, works around five walks
07/20/2013 1:13 AM ET
Tyler Matzek has allowed four runs over 25 2/3 innings at Arkansas this season.
Tyler Matzek has allowed four runs over 25 2/3 innings at Arkansas this season. (Tulsa Drillers)

Tyler Matzek has had such a good time pitching at Arkansas' Dickey-Stephens Park this season, he gave a special farewell performance Friday night.

The Rockies' No. 12 prospect allowed one hit over six innings, striking out four batters and walking five, in Double-A Tulsa's 2-0 blanking of the Travelers.

"I was just trying to pound the zone, throw strikes," he said. "That's all I've been trying to do all season and I've been doing a pretty decent job lately."

It was Matzek's fourth and final start of the season at Dickey-Stephens Park, where he went 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA. Over his last 13 innings there, he yielded just one run while striking out seven.

"I am going to miss it a little bit," the 2009 first-round pick admitted. "I wouldn't say it's a pitchers' park, but I really enjoy it. It's a good atmosphere and I've done well here."

Matzek opened Friday's game where he left off in his last outing, retiring eight consecutive Travelers.

"I felt good at the beginning of the game," he said. "I was focusing on just throwing the ball, and my catcher [Dustin Garneau] did a great job calling pitches and working through hitters with me.

Jimmy Swift poked a grounder into center field with two outs in the third for the only hit Matzek allowed. He had him down two strikes when Swift singled.

"I tried to go in on him, but the ball drifted over the plate. He put it back up the middle," Matzek said. "It was just a case of I tried to throw the ball somewhere and it didn't end up there."

The 22-year-old left-hander walked Angels No. 4 prospect Taylor Lindsey leading off the fourth, then uncorked a wild pitch while walking Angels top prospect Kaleb Cowart. Matzek got C.J. Cron -- Los Angeles' third-ranke prospect -- to fly to right as Lindsey took third. With runners at the corners, Drew Held struck out and No. 8 prospect Travis Witherspoon grounded to short.

"I just wasn't being aggressive," Matzek said of the walks. "I knew I had to get back in that aggressive mind-set -- 'see glove, hit glove' -- and I just kind of forgot about the eight balls in a row or whatever and got through the inning."

Matzek ran into trouble again in the fifth with two more free passes, but second baseman Angelys Nina caught a soft liner and stepped on the bag for an inning-ending double play.

"I was lucky. That was a lucky play," Matzek said. "The runner must have thought there were two outs or something. It helped me get out of a jam, and Nina made the heads-up play."

Matzek worked around a one-out walk in the sixth.

"My command wasn't on point, but what matters in the game is no runs across the board. We came out with a 'W.' Yeah, I walked a few guys, but whatever," he said. "It's not too big a deal. Obviously, you want to limit that, because walks are not good, but it's not the most important thing."

With Michael Cisco going four innings and Angels No. 2 prospect Nick Maronde working the next two, the Travelers took a no-hitter into the seventh.

"You've got to be focused. You've got to be locked in. When they're throwing well, you've got to be just as good," Matzek said. "You don't want to be beat by the other starter or they had bullpen guys in, so the opposing pitchers. Your goal is to beat them. And if they're not giving up runs, you have to do the same."

Good fortune also played a part in Matzek's strong outing.

"I was just getting lucky, really," he said. "I didn't even feel like I was at my best, but I had great plays behind me -- the outfield made a couple of really good plays. They made good catches where they got really good reads off the bat, and they helped me quite a bit."

The Drillers finally broke through in the seventh against Ryan Chaffee, who issued back-to-back walks to Cristhian Adames and Rockies No. 4 prospect Kyle Parker. After a groundout moved both runners into scoring position, Tyler Kuhn delivered an RBI single and Nina lifted a sacrifice fly.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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