NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Left-hander Brad Mills struck out a career-high 13 batters over eight scoreless frames to lead the Nashville Sounds to a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox on Thursday evening at Greer Stadium.
Mills (4-0), who retired his first 11 batters in order and 17 of his first 18 overall, lowered his ERA to 1.74 with the outstanding outing, his longest of the season. He scattered three hits and did not walk a batter in his 101-pitch start.
Donovan Hand set down the Sky Sox in order in the top of the ninth to close out Nashville's third shutout win of the year and nail down his tenth save, which co-leads the Pacific Coast League.
The two Nashville hurlers combined to allow only three hits and strike out 15 batters, a season high for the club.
The Sounds plated all of their runs with a pair of longballs off Sky Sox starter Christian Bergman in the bottom of the third inning.
Catcher Robinzon Diaz spotted Nashville a 1-0 lead when he led off the frame with a solo homer to left off, the backstop's third longball of the year.
Following Pete Orr's one-out single, shortstop Jeff Bianchi -- playing his first game of the year with the Sounds -- slammed a two-run homer off the guitar-shaped scoreboard in left-center to make it a 3-0 contest.
Bergman (3-4) took the loss despite a quality-start effort for Colorado Springs, allowing three runs in seven frames of work. The right-hander settled down after the three-run third, retiring his final 13 Nashville batters in succession.
Right fielder Kyle Parker recorded two of Colorado Springs' three hits on the night.
The teams wrap up the four-game set with a 7:05 p.m. finale on Friday night. Right-hander Ariel Pena (3-4, 4.14) will toe the slab for the Sounds and face Sky Sox left-hander Christian Friedrich (1-5, 6.91).