Cameron Stanton had yet to see the fifth inning in his three starts this season. He made it to the fifth and a little bit beyond Thursday.
The Braves' 30th-round pick in this year's Draft allowed a hit and a walk while striking out three over 5 2/3 innings Thursday as Rookie-level Danville blanked visiting Bristol, 3-0.
"I was really able to command the fastball down in the zone, get ahead with the fastball, and once I was ahead, I was able to give them off-speed," he said. "I had the whole arsenal going -- curveball, slider, changeup and the key was getting my fastball going."
Victor Fernandez reached on a bunt single with two outs in the fourth -- the lone hit Stanton (1-1) surrendered -- which the 22-year-old right-hander admitted was tough to accept.
"It is a little frustrating, for sure. Some of the guys were joking around with me, but it was kind of earlier in the game and it was only a three-run game, so [Bristol was] trying to do anything to offset my tempo and rhythm," he said. "But it was definitely a little frustrating."
Stanton got Huascar Fuentes to ground out to end the inning before tossing a perfect fifth. He got into trouble at the start of the sixth when Deybi Garcia reached on a fielding error by shortstop Derian Cruz. After issuing a walk to Michael De La Cruz and getting Henrry Rosario to line into a double play, Stanton exited and Taylor Cockrell coaxed a groundout from Daniel Cucjen.
"I was just focusing on staying calm and not tiring myself out there in the beginning and middle innings," he said. "I really wanted to just stay in a rhythm, stay smooth and not take too much energy on the pitches and overthrow. It was an accomplishment to get into that fifth inning."
Stanton started the season in the Danville bullpen after throwing 102 2/3 innings for St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. He allowed four runs in 9 1/3 innings of relief before throwing four scoreless innings against Pulaski on July 21. Three appearances later, the 6-foot, 170-pound son of former Major League reliever Mike Stanton spun three scoreless innings against Bluefield, and he's blanked the opposition in three of his four starts this season.
The younger Stanton has a close relationship with his father -- the two speak almost every day -- and he said he's learned a lot from him about both the mechanical aspects of pitching and the mental side of taking the mound.
"We'll talk the night before I pitch," he said. "Anytime I have something going wrong in my mechanics, I'm able to call him and we're able to talk -- he's seen me throw enough that he can fix me without even looking at me. We have a great connection and he's an awesome source of information."
The Braves plated all their runs in the first to give Stanton ample support. Ramon Osuna and Cristian Pache recorded RBI singles in the frame.
Mike Wallace (2-3) allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits while striking out five over five innings.