It wasn't conventional by any means, but when the dust settled Thursday, Nik Turley had led Double-A Trenton in a one-hitter all the same.
The No. 14 Yankees prospect allowed one single and five walks while striking out eight over six innings as the Thunder topped the Binghamton Mets, 2-0. Combined with relievers David Herndon and Tommy Kahnle, Trenton struck out 13, walked seven and hit three batters.
Despite the somewhat wild process, Turley wasn't about to complain with the aggregate result.
"I've been trying to build on a few starts here and there, trying to get the walks down, but it's definitely a good feeling to get a solid outing tonight," he said.
The 23-year-old came into Thursday's outing looking to produce a strong effort after his first two post-All-Star break starts had yielded seven runs in 11 innings. In June, he'd produced a 4.71 ERA in 28 2/3 innings as well.
"There are little frustrations at times, but I feel like it's been a great learning experience. I'm just trying to work on building on each good outing, and even a bad or rocky outing. Just trying to build, learn more and try to find that consistency," he said.
His eight strikeouts fell one short of a season high. After recording a 2.89 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 44 walks in 112 frames last year for Class A Advanced Tampa, he's been able to maintain a healthy K-rate in Double-A.
He has 104 punchouts in 100 innings, good for a strikeouts-per-nine innings rate of 9.36. But he also has a 4.59 walks-per-nine after issuing 51 free passes and has been for striving for improvement in that area.
"I've been trying to fine-tune my mechanics, repeat my delivery, and that's what I've been doing all season. Hopefully I can build off this outing, fine-tune a couple more things and get better and better," he noted.
Turley added that his transition to Double-A has been a work in progress, but a welcome challenge.
"The hitters are so much more disciplined than in [Class A Advanced], you can get away with pretty much anything there," he said. "Throw that fastball up and they'll swing at it. Here they'll spit on a good curveball in the dirt, a good change, even a good slider. It teaches you that you have to throw strikes with all your pitches."
Overall, Turley stands 8-5 with a 4.23 ERA in 20 appearances -- 19 of them starts -- for Trenton. He also made one appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, an effort in May in which he allowed just a run on two hits in six innings.
The bullpen combined for three no-hit frames Thursday. Herndon struck out three and walked one in 1 2/3 innings, while Kahnle wrapped up with two strikeouts and a walk in 1 1/3 innings for his 12th save of the season.
"Our bullpen has always been reliable. I feel like we have one of the best in the league, so it's always nice to see them do well," said Turley.
Offensively, second baseman Reegie Corona delivered a two-run homer in the sixth inning off Binghamton starter Darin Gorski.
Gorski earned the loss despite going the distance, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts over nine frames.