Alex "Chi Chi" Gonzalez grew up in a family full of nicknames. His great uncle dubbed him with his moniker partly because of how it sounded as a baseball calling. Now, Gonzalez is doing it proud.
The Rangers' No. 7 prospect pitched eight shutout innings in the longest outing of his professional career Saturday night as Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach beat Frederick, 4-1, at TicketReturn.com Field.
Gonzalez (2-2) allowed five hits and three walks, struck out five and did not pitch a perfect inning until the fifth. He left two Keys in scoring position in the first and stranded four more over the next three frames. He also got some help from his defense, with the Pelicans turning double plays in the fourth and sixth.
"My two-seam [fastball] was working really well today," the Rangers' 2013 first-round Draft pick said. "I got in trouble a couple times with two-out walks. That two-seam, basically, helped me out the best. And then making big pitches when there was a man on first for double plays, that's what saved me in a few innings."
Through eight innings, Gonzalez was efficient, throwing 61 of 96 pitches for strikes and working in lockstep with his catcher.
"I give a lot of credit to Jorge Alfaro," Gonzalez said, referring to Texas' top-ranked prospect. "I'm throwing any pitch in any count that he's calling and I'm hitting spots. We just keep going.
"It's just giving each other confidence, basically. He calls for a pitch, I throw it where he wants it and it's just like a bond we both have. Before the game, in the bullpen, he was telling me how my ball was working and all this. He just talks me up and gives me confidence to perform."
Frederick starter Parker Bridwell matched Gonzalez through four innings before faltering.
In the fifth, Chris Garcia walked, stole second and scored on Odubel Herrera's single. The Pelicans tacked on three runs in the seventh against the Keys bullpen, with Hanser Alberto singling in a pair and Herrera adding an RBI groundout.
Bridwell (0-4) allowed an earned run on three hits while walking five and striking out two.
After Abel De Los Santos surrendered a run while recording the first two outs in the ninth, Alex Claudio retired Glynn Davis on a fly ball to pick up his first save of the season. Myrtle Beach improved to a Carolina League-best 17-10.
"Every guy on the team is talented and all throughout the organization," Gonzalez said. "It's like you're playing in Little League all over again -- everybody's got your back. Everybody's competing and doing well. Having those good guys on your team brings back the bond and reminds you that it's just a game."