Dace Kime left the ballpark Friday as something he hadn't been in his professional career: a winning pitcher.
"It actually feels like a very large weight was lifted off my shoulders," the Indians' 13th-ranked prospect said after recording his first Minor League victory.
Kime allowed three hits and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings as Class A Lake County blanked Dayton, 5-0, at Fifth Third Field.
After going 0-2 in nine starts with short-season Mahoning Valley last summer, Kime (1-9) went winless in his first 13 Midwest League starts. His velocity began to drop in his last couple outings, so he made a few mechanical adjustments heading into the Friday's start.
"I just had a mentality going into the game that I really wanted to pound the zone with my fastball because that's the type of pitcher I am," he said. "Pretty much all my pitches were working, but the key was working off my fastball. I didn't throw too many off-speed pitches. ... I remember I saw 92 [on the radar gun], so that made me happy."
The Captains gave Kime the lead in the third and widened it to four runs in the fourth, but the 22-year-old right-hander tried not to lose his focus.
"[That size lead is] a little bit comfortable for a pitcher, but if you're sitting in the dugout and your team puts up two or three runs and then you go up and struggle and walk a guy, it really takes away from the momentum of your team scoring runs," he said. "For me, when we scored runs, I just wanted to go up there and throw strike one and force [Dayton] to swing early."
The University of Louisville product allowed a leadoff single in the first before retiring 18 of the next 19 batters. He ended up issuing just one walk.
"This is definitely my top [start], other than my first start ever," Kime said. "This is definitely up there with my command, my velocity -- everything baseball was the best it could be. ... My mechanics were clean, I threw the ball well [and] my velocity was decent when I threw in low 90s."
Justin Brinkley worked 1 1/3 innings and Trevor Frank got the final three outs, finishing off the Captains' third shutout of the season.
Brian Ruiz delivered a two-run single and doubled in another run for his first career multi-RBI game. Clint Frazier, Cleveland's No. 2 prospect, tripled and singled for Lake County.
Dayton starter Ismael Guillon (4-1), the Reds' No. 9 prospect, suffered his first loss of the season after allowing four runs on six hits over four frames. He walked three and struck out two.