Jose De Leon was riding the best wave of his season when he ran into an abbreviated outing in his last start. On Friday night, he knew what he had to do to put it behind him.
An efficient De Leon mowed through seven innings, allowing three hits and recording 11 strikeouts, as Rookie-level Ogden blanked Helena, 8-0, at Lindquist Field.
Since surrendering six runs over 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season on June 18 against Grand Junction, the Dodgers prospect had not allowed more than three runs in any outing heading into his last appearance. On Aug. 1 at Orem, he was charged with six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in 4 2/3 frames.
Against Helena, De Leon (5-0) was back in his usual form. The just-turned 22-year-old right-hander fanned a batter in each of the first two innings before striking out the side in the third. He punched out at least one Brewer in all seven innings, striking out the side again in the sixth.
"I was feeling pretty good today with my fastball to the third-base side, outside to lefties and inside to righties," the Puerto Rico native said. "I think out of 24 batters, I had 18 first-pitch strikes. That always is what you want to do."
De Leon allowed the leadoff hitter to reach only once, when Brandon Diaz singled in the fourth. In the seventh, he struck out Eric Williams before turning things over to his bullpen.
"I had my command and my three pitches today. Everything was working," he said. "I think I only had two or three three-ball counts, and I didn't walk anybody. That always helps. I had the defense behind me, too, and that also helps keeping the pitch count low. It was basically that, just going right at guys and attacking. That's something I didn't do the last outing, and I was just executing everything."
The victory, which kept De Leon unbeaten, helped the 2013 24th-round pick erase some of the memory of his no-decision a week ago at Orem.
"I think it's all mind-set," he said. "My mind wasn't right there [at Orem]. I wasn't as focused as I should have been, but I feel very confident in myself right now. I'm going to try to keep it rolling through the end of the season."
Lenix Osuna allowed two hits and struck out one over the final two innings to finish off the Raptors' second shutout of the season.
Andrew Godbold and Jimmy Allen ripped back-to-back RBI doubles in the fourth to give De Leon the lead, and the Raptors didn't let up. Four Ogden players plated runs in a four-run seventh, with Tyler Wampler's two-out single capping the scoring.
Helena starter Luis Ortega (3-6) was charged with three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six over four innings.