The rigors of the California League mean a win may not be a win, even when it looks like one. Chris Anderson knows the feeling.
The Dodgers' No. 5 prospect matched a career high with seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings and left in line for a victory Friday night before Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga stumbled late in a 7-4 loss at Visalia.
Anderson, the 18th overall selection in last year's MLB Draft, faced a lengthy wait just to get to the mound in his fourth start of the season. The Quakes sent eight men to the plate in the top of the first, plating two runs on top Dodgers prospect Corey Seager's first homer of the season. Rancho Cucamonga tacked on another in the second when James Baldwin scored on Adam Law's sacrifice fly.
The advantage helped ease Anderson in, but it didn't change his approach.
"At the end of the day, I'm just trying to get up there and throw zeros on the board and get in there and get out as soon as I can," he said. "I think it obviously helped today."
Visalia left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and hardly got another opportunity against Anderson. Brandon Drury, the D-backs' No. 8 prospect, was the only member of the Rawhide lineup to even partially solve the 21-year-old right-hander, picking up his team's only two hits against the Quakes starter. Anderson faced two over the minimum from the second through the fourth and bookended his night by working out of another bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
"I think I threw enough strikes to have success," Anderson said. "Obviously, I had a few walks in there, which I need to get rid of. Other than that, I was able to punch guys out when I had them with two strikes, which was big for me tonight. I kept the ball around the zone pretty much all night."
Anderson also recorded seven strikeouts last Aug. 12 for Class A Great Lakes and the six innings equaled the longest outing of his Minor League career.
"I had a lot of success with my changeup," he said. "I stuck with it. I thought it was good coming into the game and something that I really wanted to get established to get them off my fastball. Both of my starts, I've been really fastball-heavy. I just tried to get a pitch to get to where I could just say if I'm going to get beat, I'm going to get beat."
Anderson didn't, although the Rawhide rallied late against the Quakes bullpen.
He exited with a 4-0 cushion, but Drury's two-run double highlighted Visalia's four-run seventh against Jharel Cotton. An inning later, Kevin Medrano delivered a go-ahead two-run triple with two outs against Matt Shelton (1-1).
Cody Wheeler (1-1) logged two scoreless innings for the win and Enrique Burgos retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out Seager, to earn his second save.