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Jordan fires first nine-inning shutout06/14/2013 12:44 AM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
Nationals prospect Taylor Jordan doesn't want to make a habit of hitting the first batter of every game. He says it was just a coincidence that incident led to a milestone-laden evening.
The right-hander plunked Javier Herrera with the fourth pitch of Thursday's game before going on to toss what he described as the finest outing of his young career.
Washington's No. 17 prospect took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts in his first nine-inning complete-game shutout in the Double-A Harrisburg Senators' 9-0 win over the visiting Richmond Flying Squirrels.
"It was supposed to be a fastball in, but it just got away from me," said Jordan. "I didn't want to do that and put the leadoff hitter on because obviously they have speed. I was a little aggravated at myself. I don't like hitting anybody with two strikes, but it made me focus.
"[After that], everything went extremely well for me. I felt great out there on the mound, my pitches seemed to be working and the fielders were great."
Jordan -- who scattered five singles and walked one batter -- also collected some firsts at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a team-high three runs scored, an RBI single and a walk.
After plunking leadoff hitter Herrera with a 1-2 fastball, Jordan was perfect through the next five frames. Over the first four, he induced six ground balls and struck out six. The Flying Squirrels didn't get the ball out of the infield until Ricky Oropesa flew out to center field in the fifth.
In total, Jordan induced nine ground balls and four flyouts.
The 24-year-old right-hander helped his own cause by walking on six pitches and scoring in the third, singling to right and scoring in the fourth and poking a two-out RBI single to right and crossing the plate in the fifth.
"I was excited," added Jordan, who said he will give the ball from his first hit to his mom. He'll also give her the bat used to record that single and his first career RBI, even though he later snapped it into two pieces grounding out in his final at-bat. "I liked it, it was a lot of fun. It was definitely a change of pace from pitching.
"My first hit went through the hole and went right past first base, but I was more happy with my second hit -- it was a well-hit ball. I'll probably give it all to my mom for her scrapbook."
Jordan was at 60 pitches through five innings, but a long fifth stalled the no-hit attempt as the Senators sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five times.
Andrew Susac, the first batter Jordan faced in the sixth, delivered an infield single to third base.
"The fans weren't happy that they ruled it a hit, but it wasn't a routine play. It was a sharply hit ball that took a bad hop. If the third baseman [Justin Bloxom] didn't knock it down, it would have been a double. [The long fifth] didn't play a role in it.
"I really wasn't upset. I was pitching well and I don't expect to throw up no-hitters every time out."
The Florida native had recorded seven-inning complete-game shutouts in 2011 and 2013, but Thursday's start represented the first time he pitched into the ninth.
Selected by the Nationals in the ninth round of the 2009 Draft out of Brevard County Community College, the 6-foot-3 farmhand has faced few obstacles in 2013, his fifth year of pro ball.
He was 2-1 with a 1.24 ERA in six Carolina League starts with Potomac. With Thursday's victory, he improved to 5-0 and lowered his Eastern League ERA to 0.66.
He spun six three-hit innings in his season debut against Lynchburg on April 6 and he tossed eight frames against Carolina on May 2, his final start in Potomac before his promotion to the Eastern League.
He's been just as sharp at Double-A. He struck out nine batters over six innings in his second start for the Senators in Reading on May 18 and he fired a complete-game shutout in his most recent start against the Fightin Phils on Saturday.
"I'm just trying to put up zeros," he said. "I'm surprised to a point, but at the same time, I kind of expect it. If I give up one run, that's fine. If I give up two runs, that's not good in my eyes."