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Ynoa takes no-hitter into sixth inning07/27/2013 2:43 AM ET
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
Michael Ynoa is growing up fast.
After falling back into some bad habits in the first inning on Friday night, the A's fifth-ranked prospect showed maturity in establishing a new sense of focus.
Ynoa carried a no-hitter into the sixth and ended up allowing a single over 5 1/3 shutout innings to help Class A Advanced Stockton post a 4-2 victory over San Jose at Banner Island Ballpark.
The 21-year-old right-hander is in his first full pro season and earned a promotion after going 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in the Midwest League. He struggled in the California League, however, going 0-2 with a 14.90 ERA in three starts.
Stockton pitching coach Jimmy Escalante, who also worked with Ynoa last year in the Rookie-level Arizona League, saw a change beginning after the Futures Game, where the native of the Dominican Republic gave up two runs in one inning and was charged with the loss.
"He came out of that Futures Game and said he wanted a plan for the rest of the season," Escalante said. "He just got out there and started making adjustments for his fastball and he really picked up his effort level. He's had days where he doesn't concentrate on the 85 pitches he's throwing. He'll throw two fastballs for strikes and then he relaxes.
"It's just [about] focusing on pitches and making that increased effort transfer into his [side sessions], too. Sometimes some of his bullpens were like, 'Oh, I have a side today. I need to throw.' He's getting better at those. The kid is maturing. He's growing up."
Ynoa fanned the leadoff hitter Friday, but he walked the next two Giants.
"You could see him talking to himself out on the mound," Escalante said. "He told me he was upset with himself because he kind of relaxed after that first out."
With renewed concentration, Ynoa retired the next seven batters, beginning with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
"He's [6-foot-7]," Escalante said, "and when he lets go of that fastball at 95 miles an hour, it gets on top of hitters quickly."
With two outs in the third, Ynoa hit Matt Duffy, but then set down six in a row before issuing his third and final walk to Chris Lofton. He held the Giants hitless until Mac Williamson dribbled a one-out single through the left side in the sixth.
"He came out and said, 'I left the pitch over the middle, but it wasn't hit that hard.' It was just a two-bouncer through a hole. Even the hit wasn't hit that hard," Escalante said.
During the at-bat against Williamson, Ynoa reached 85 pitches, which the A's have set as his limit.
"That was his last hitter, no matter what," Escalante said. "We're happy that he was able to last as deep as he did."
As effective as Ynoa was with his focus and fastball, his pitching coach sees him becoming even more impressive as other aspects of his game improve.
"We're still trying to work on his curve. He doesn't have the best feel for it. It does have depth, he just can't always throw it for strikes yet," Esacalante said. "And I think he doubts himself sometimes. I'm glad he went out there and battled. It's going to be good for him, going forward, to remember he beat San Jose."
Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, rehabbing a fractured his pinkie finger, took the loss after giving up two runs on a walk and a hit -- a home run by Bruce Maxwell -- over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three.
"Some of these guys just want to know what he throws. But it is always fun to face a Major Leaguer," Escalante said. "Like, Bruce hit that home run tonight. He'll always be able to say he hit a home run off a World Series superstar."