Anytime Kyle Crick runs into trouble on the mound, he keeps the same mentality to get out of an inning.
"I just kind of tell myself I'm always one pitch away at any given time," the Giants' top prospect said.
Crick tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over six innings on Friday but was outdueled by Warwick Saupold as Double-A Richmond dropped a 2-0 decision at Erie.
"I think it's a good way to go about your business on the mound -- just stay positive and try to tell yourself, 'You're one pitch away,'" the 21-year-old right-hander said. "I feel like I did pretty well locating my fastball. All in all, I feel like it was a step forward in my development."
After a perfect first, Crick ran into trouble in the second, allowing a run on two singles and a walk. But he limited the damage by fanning Craig Albernaz for his fifth strikeout of the night.
MLB.com's No. 26 overall prospect allowed one hit over the next two frames before running into trouble again in the sixth. With one out, Crick back-to-back singles to Jason Krizan and Tigers No. 2 prospect Devon Travis.
Catcher Tyler LaTorre reminded his batterymate of the mind-set that gets him out of trouble, and Crick (6-5) responded by getting two quick outs.
"I was able to locate my fastball, and the breaking ball was still there and I was trying to throw everything for strikes," he said. "I think it's all coming together. I'm just getting comfortable, just throwing the ball and letting it take care of itself."
Crick ended up scattering five hits and four walks while striking out 11 for the third time in his career.
"I'm not necessarily trying to strike people out, but if it happens, it happens," he said. "I just have to keep my pitch count down, which is hard when you get a lot of strikeouts, so I try to get early contact."
The 2011 first-round pick said he competes with the rest of the Flying Squirrels staff from start to start, but it was Erie's Warwick Saupold with whom he dueled on Friday night.
"He was locating all his pitches down in the zone early on in the game," Crick said of the 24-year-old Australian right-hander. "I think it definitely drives me more when you're in a pitchers' duel, as they call it. You can't give up hits because you're down by one and every run counts."
Saupold (7-8) held Richmond to one hit and five walks while fanning two over six frames. Ryan Robowski followed with two perfect frames and Jose Valdez pitched a hitless ninth to pick up his 15th save.
The SeaWolves got some insurance in the eighth when Tigers No. 19 prospect Steven Moya slugged his Eastern League-leading 26th homer off reliever Phil McCormick.