Not a lot of professional baseball players get a summer break. Alex Reyes did, and he was fully refreshed when he returned to action Tuesday night.
"Ever since the first inning, my arm felt good," St. Louis' fourth-ranked prospect said. "The Cardinals gave me two weeks off, just because of an innings limit for the season, so I felt good even before getting out there on the bump. Probably the best thing about today was just getting to compete again."
The well-rested Reyes matched a career high with 11 strikeouts as he allowed two hits over six scoreless innings before Class A Peoria posted a 4-2, 14-inning win at Burlington.
"The fastball/changeup combo got me through all six innings," he said. "I was able to throw the changeup for strikes and keep guys off-balance, and I threw some fastballs up in the zone and got guys to swing at it. This was the best day my changeup's ever been. I had a lot of first-pitch strikes, too."
The 19-year-old right-hander also struck out 11 while throwing six one-hit frames for Rookie-level Johnson City on June 26, 2013. While he remained 6-6 in the Midwest League, he lowered his ERA to 3.89.
Reyes' time off the mound may have been a break, but it wasn't a vacation.
"I was having bullpen sessions," he said. "They were having me lift a lot more to build some strength and I was working on my mechanics and stuff in sides."
The New Jersey native gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, Bo Way, but got Angels No. 19 prospect Kody Eaves to bounce into a double play. He walked Zach Houchins, then struck out Eric Aguilera.
"I fell behind [Way], 1-0, and then threw a fastball for a strike," Reyes said. "I tried to lay another one in there, but he got a good pitch to hit. The walk, I just got out of my comfort zone a little bit. I was trying to overthrow."
Mike Fish led off the Bees' second with a single, but Reyes fanned two in the inning and struck out six while retiring eight batters in a row. Fish's two-out walk in the fourth disrupted that string, but Reyes made Stephen McGee his third strikeout victim of the inning.
"It's always nice when you've got stuff that people are swinging and missing at," Reyes said. "It shows you're in progress of a good day. The key was missing bats -- and that changeup. "
He struck out two more to open the fifth and shrugged off a single and stolen base by Erick Salcedo before tossing a perfect sixth.
"I didn't know I was going to be done," Reyes said. "I asked [manager Joe Kruzel] for another inning, but he sat me down and told me it's getting late in the season and that I pitched a good game. Today was just the first day back, and it was a good day."
Peoria's Justin Ringo went 3-for-6 with an RBI and a 14th-inning double ahead of Rowan Wick's go-ahead two-run homer. Jhonny Polanco (4-1) struck out the side in the 13th for the win and Kyle Barraclough registered the final two of the Chiefs' 23 punchouts for his fifth save.
Top Angels prospect Sean Newcomb, the 15th overall pick in this year's Draft, started for Burlington in his Class A and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over 3 1/13 innings. The 21-year-old left-hander struck out three.