Mike Kickham had the type of outing that many pitchers dream of, but he came away hungry to prove there's much more in the tank.
The Giants' No. 17 prospect pitched six hitless innings, despite battling his command at times, matching five walks with five strikeouts as Triple-A Fresno rolled past Salt Lake, 10-2, at Smith's Ballpark.
"I'd like to see a little more consistency with the fastball," Kickham said. "The main thing is to throw strikes with the fastball. I did it when I had to. I got done what I needed to, but overall, I'd like to be more efficient."
Kickham (2-5) went to the mound with an early lead as Mark Minicozzi hit an RBI single in the first inning and Giants No. 16 prospect Gary Brown delivered a two-run double in a four-run second.
After retiring the side in order in the opening frame, Kickham worked with traffic for the first time in the second, walking a pair of Bees before stranding runners at the corners. The 25-year-old southpaw faced the minimum in the third and fourth and issued a one-out walk to Tommy Fields in the fifth.
Kickham labored in the sixth, issuing a leadoff walk to Matt Long and giving another free pass to rehabbing Angels slugger Ian Stewart. With his pitch count climbing, the Missouri State product fanned No. 11 Angels prospect Zach Borenstein to close the sixth and end his night.
"It's tough to come out when you haven't given up a hit, but I understood," Kickham said. "I put myself in that hole by walking five guys, to be quite honest. All in all, it was good. I don't get down at all with the win and six strong innings, but I'd like to see a little more consistency from myself with the fastball there."
Due in large part to his ability to avoid bats in big situations, Kickham kept the Bees off the scoreboard. Rather than be content, he sees the work that can be done to further polish his presence.
"I shouldn't need to have a couple guys on or a runner or runners in scoring position to bear down like that," Kickham said. "I should do that from the first batter. Maybe that's one thing that I need to work on, really bear down from the first pitch of the inning. You're not going to escape those jams all the time, especially at this level and especially at the big league level."
Whatever the reasons for Kickham's lapses in command, one thing he didn't need to worry much about on Sunday was run support. Fresno tacked on three runs in the fifth on RBI hits from Chris Dominguez and No. 14 prospect Joe Panik, sandwiched around Juan Ciriaco's sacrifice fly. In the sixth, Guillemro Quiroz plated a run with a groundout and Ciriaco hit an RBI double.
"I don't mind sitting in the dugout for a while if we're putting up runs. That's always good," said Kickham, who earned his first win since April 24. "Our bats were really hot tonight. They did a great job putting up some runs, and it's a little easier to pitch with a five-, six-, seven-run lead like we had, it seemed like, the whole night tonight."
After Kickham exited, the Bees broke through against the Grizzlies bullpen. Luis Martinez broke up the no-hitter with two outs in the seventh, smacking an opposite-field solo homer off Brett Bochy. Angels No. 2 prospect Taylor Lindsey added a solo blast in the ninth.
Bees starter Hector Santiago (0-1) gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks while fanning one over 2 2/3 innings in his Triple-A season debut.