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Reynolds, 66ers build 2-0 Finals lead09/14/2013 2:16 AM ET
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
Consider Dan Reynolds redeemed.
After allowing six runs on one hit and six walks over 2 1/3 innings in his first two postseason starts, the Angels prospect has recorded a crucial save and a key win in a three-day span.
Reynolds allowed a run on three hits over seven innings Friday night as Inland Empire rolled to a 9-1 victory over San Jose and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 California League Championship Series.
The 22-year-old right-hander pitched a scoreless 15th inning on Wednesday against Lancaster to wrap up the 66ers' five-game triumph in the Southern Division finals. It was his only relief appearance of the year.
"I said to our pitching coach, 'Hey, I haven't really been pitching that strong, but if you put me in, I'll be ready,'" Reynolds said.
"I had three walks in each of those first two starts. Tonight, I wanted to challenge hitters and throw strikes. I believe we have the best defense in the league, so I wanted to let them hit the ball at my guys."
The Inland Empire defense factored almost immediately. Of the three hits Reynolds surrendered, two were consecutive singles by Mitchell Delfino and Myles Schroder in the second inning. Catcher Abel Baker erased Schroeder by picking him off first base.
"It kind of went from a pressure situation to being able to breathe and relax a little bit. That was huge," Reynolds said. "I think that was the game-changer early in the game. They were knocking on the door there, Baker kind of shut it down. It was a huge sigh of relief. Baker is on [in the playoffs] -- he's hitting, handling pitches, throwing guys out ... "
Reynolds worked a 1-2-3 third but plunked Mac Williamson for the second time leading off the fourth. Williamson moved up on a wild pitch, took third on a groundout and scored on Trevor Brown's sacrifice fly.
"I was just trying to throw it high and make him chase the first time. It sailed on me and hit him on the wrist," Reynolds said. "The second time, I was pitching away and I wanted to keep him honest by going inside. I just dropped my arm angle down. You can't do too much about that, push it aside and go forward."
The 2009 sixth-round pick retired 10 straight to end his night, getting the last two batters on punchouts. He threw 61 of 92 pitches for strikes.
"It was just throwing strikes and challenging hitters," said the Las Vegas native, who struck out five and did not walk a batter. "I wanted to let my defense work and minimize walks and not have any big innings."
Michael Snyder went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and Andy Workman homered and drove in three runs for the 66ers. Baker doubled in a pair during a five-run seventh.
Giants starter Kyle Crick (0-1), San Francisco's top prospect, was charged with two runs on four hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
A win away from the California League title, Inland Empire travels up to San Jose for the remainder of the series. Game 3 is Saturday night.
"San Jose is the best team in the Northern Division, it's nothing to laugh about," Reynolds said. "I don't think this seals the momentum for us at all. We have to go up there and keep playing the way we've been playing."