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Skaggs continues mowing down hitters07/03/2011 1:59 AM ET
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com
The Lake Elsinore Storm became the latest California League team to learn that very little fazes Tyler Skaggs.
The Diamondbacks prospect struck out nine and allowed a run on five hits over seven innings Saturday night, pitching the Visalia Rawhide to an 11-1 romp over the Storm.
Skaggs (5-5) breezed through six innings, holding the league's top offensive team to three singles. He ran into a little trouble in the seventh, giving up a leadoff triple to All-Star Jedd Gyorko, who scored on Jake Blackwood's ground ball to end the shutout bid.
Nate Freiman hit a two-out single, but Skaggs retired Wande Olabisi on another grounder to end the inning and his night.
"A lot of curves and changes let me keep them off-balance," the former first-round pick said. "Pretty much everything worked tonight."
Drafted 40th overall by the Angels in 2009, Skaggs was traded to Arizona last July in the deal that sent Dan Haren to Anaheim. MLB.com's No. 43 prospect leads the California League and is tied for second in the Minors with 120 strikeouts. And in his first season in the hitter-friendly Cal League, he ranks fourth with a 3.23 ERA over 97 2/3 innings.
"The key is just working ahead in the count and I can throw whatever I want 0-2, 1-2," Skaggs said. "The curveball has been working good this year, it's an out pitch. I would say it's my best pitch, besides my fastball."
His 20th birthday is still 11 days away, but that doesn't bother the California native.
"I like being the youngest player. I feel like I'm holding my own against the older guys," he said. "I like it a lot."
Saturday's win was Skaggs' first since May 26, when he allowed a run over seven innings against Stockton. In five starts since, he was 0-2, despite pitching to a 3.98 ERA.
"What I need to work on is throwing my change for my strikes and going deep into games," he said. "I sometimes give up too many two-strike hits, so just smarter pitching."
Jon Mark Owings went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Rawhide, while Raoul Torrez doubled twice and scored three runs.