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Gerritse rebounds in Tampa shutout
Yankees right-hander goes back to basics, puts trust in his defense
04/30/2014 10:58 PM ET
Brett Gerritse had allowed 32 hits over 17 innings in his first four outings. (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Yankees)

On paper, it wasn't even a fair fight.

Dunedin entered Wednesday's game against Tampa riding a five-game winning streak and boasting a Florida State League-best 20-5 record. The Blue Jays had outscored opponents by an almost 2-1 margin (120-61) and had one of the Minor Leagues' hottest pitchers making his Class A Advanced debut.

Tampa countered with a pitcher who'd given up 21 runs in four games and had the third-worst ERA among the 51 FSL hurlers who logged enough innings to qualify.

That's why baseball isn't played on paper.

Brett Gerritse allowed two hits and two walks over six innings, helping the Yankees blank the Blue Jays, 6-0, at Steinbrenner Field.

"You never look at those things," Gerritse said of Dunedin's record. "You just go after guys.

"A little struggle in the first couple innings, but I managed to get the ball down a little more and let my defense work. It was good."

The 23-year-old right-hander worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first but faced just batter over the minimum over the next five innings. He attributed his success to pitching to contact and trusting his infielders to back him up.

"It was huge," Gerritse said of escaping the first inning unharmed, "especially coming off the struggles in the past couple outings.

"[Second baseman] Angelo Gumbs was great tonight. He probably got seven or eight ground balls and made a few great plays. [Third baseman] Dante Bichette Jr., the same thing. Zach Wilson was great at first base, too."

Selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2009 Draft, Gerritse had been struggling. He entered Wednesday with a 7.41 ERA, having allowed a homer in each of his first four starts. Opponents were batting .390 against the right-hander, who wrapped up his first month in the FSL after repeating the Class A South Atlantic League in 2013.

"I'm not pressing quite as much, I'm just trying to get early contact and quick outs and let my defense do what it does best," said Gerritse, who did not register a strikeout for the first time in 35 career starts. "You always try to pitch to contact; strikeouts are just a bonus.

"Every level is a pretty decent jump, but I've played against them, so I know them. I've seen some of these hitters for two or three years. It was quite a humbling thing to go back [to the SAL]. It was [the Yankees'] decision, but it wasn't a big deal."

Phil Wetherell relieved Gerritste and struck out two batters in a perfect seventh before Tyler Webb set down the final six batters to seal the Yankees' second shutout of the season. Webb has retired 19 consecutive hitters, dating back to April 19.

Blue Jays starter Kendall Graveman (0-1) allowed four runs -- two earned -- on eight hits and a walk while striking out three over four innings. The 23-year-old right-hander was 2-0 with a Midwest League-leading 0.34 ERA in four starts before he was promoted to Dunedin.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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