Right-handed Mets prospect Logan Taylor could trust his stuff on Thursday better than he'd been able to since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July, and the results spoke for themselves.
"Everything was working for me," the 22-year-old said. "It was the best start with my fastball command coming back after Tommy John."
Taylor threw 8 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and issuing one walk -- to the last batter he faced -- while striking out four in Class A Savannah's 4-0 shutout of visiting Greenville.
The 2011 11th-rounder went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA over three rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League before joining the Sand Gnats on July 9. The victory made him 1-3 with a 2.82 ERA across six South Atlantic League starts.
"My last start, toward the end, [my fastball command] started clicking," Taylor said. "And coming out there tonight, I had a lot of good pitches in and was able to expand the zone out too."
He worked a 1-2-3 first inning, and after Kevin Mager bunted for a one-out single in the second, Taylor got Franklin Guzman to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
"That felt great," he said. "Me and the catcher [Colton Plaia] knew exactly how we were going to handle it with a guy on base. We went in hard with the two-seam and let the defense pick me up."
The Drive's Tim Roberson lined a double to left field off Taylor with one out in the third and eighth-ranked Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot singled with two outs, but right fielder Victor Cruzado snared a line drive by Jimmy Rider to snuff the budding rally.
"The defense helped me out a ton," Taylor said. "There were a lot of great plays in the outfield."
But the Eastern Oklahoma State product never lost confidence.
"I felt pretty well in control. They put good swings on pitches that shouldn't have been hit," he said. "With the double, it was exactly where I wanted it and exactly what I wanted to throw, but he hit it hard. Then after I got out of that jam, we were never really in any trouble."
He gave up a leadoff single to No. 18 Red Sox prospect Wendell Rijo in the fourth, but then retired 16 in a row. Taylor started the streak by getting Sam Travis to hit into a double play and it ended with a two-out walk to Rider in the ninth.
Taylor then handed the ball to Dawrin Frias, who got Rijo to pop out to end the game.
Having come so close to a complete-game shutout, Taylor was already looking forward to getting the ball again.
"Every start so far, every time there are a few pauses in play, I try to pick up something if I'm not doing well," he said. "Tonight, I was doing well pretty much the whole time. We'll see what the next start brings, but hopefully I can keep doing what I'm doing."
Matt Oberste was 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored for the Sand Gnats.
Drive starting pitcher Ty Buttrey (0-3) allowed two hits and three walks while whiffing six over six scoreless frames.