Forget the number 13, it's the number 18 that's proved vexing for Tyler Beede.
San Francisco's No. 2 prospect carried a perfect game into the sixth inning as Double-A Richmond beat Akron, 2-0, on Wednesday.
Beede retired the first 17 batters of the game before Ivan Castillo singled with two outs in the sixth inning.
"It was the first pitch of the at-bat, I threw a sinker away, because I knew he was aggressive, the whole team is aggressive," he said. "I was thinking of getting a ground ball that first pitch, letting him get himself out. I wouldn't say bad luck, but he hit it where they weren't at the six-hole just out of the range of [Brandon] Bednar at shortstop."
The situation reminded the 23-year-old right-hander of start against Bowie on June 2. Faced with the same scenario, Beede gave up a two-out double to Henry Urrutia after a nine-pitch at-bat. That game loomed large in his thought process on Wednesday.
"Right before that pitch, I was thinking let's get past this guy right here, I don't want to mess around," Beede said. "Last time I [went 5 2/3 hitless frames,] I lost it. I was sort of messing around that at-bat and the guy got a hit. I just wanted to be aggressive like I was and get ahead, but he was aggressive and put the ball where we didn't have a fielder."
Beede (5-4) finished up having allowed two hits and a walk while fanning a season-high nine over 7 2/3 innings.
"I felt strong," the Massachusetts native said. "I felt like I was in the zone. Before the game, I knew it was a talented lineup that Akron had watching the two games prior, seeing how talented they were. I think for me I was focused on locking it in from the get-go, because any mistakes to that team they will make you pay for. I was making sure I was throwing quality pitches and making sure I was getting ahead in the count. I think I was able to do that and stayed out of any trouble. To start off the game, I was really locked in and the defense was making great plays behind me."
Beede credited his high strikeout total to a change to his offspeed pitch.
"My curveball was the best it's been all season," he said. "Yesterday, I was just lucky enough playing catch, I went back to an old grip I used in high school and was able to find something that felt really comfortable to me. The results of the pitch were a little more sharp than usual. It's a pitch that I'm very happy to pick up this far into the season and was effective tonight at getting swings-and-misses in the dirt and even setting up the fastball later in the game."
The Vanderbilt University product has gotten better as the season has gone along. After posting a 4.71 ERA in four April starts, Beede has lowered it down to 2.71, tied for third in the Eastern League, after a June stretch in which he allowed six earned runs in five starts.
"Ever since the end of April, in between starts, I've been focused on what I can do to get better," he said. "I know there's so much more in the tank for me, and each start, it's been adding something new to my game. I think, in the month of June, it has just really been once I get ahead in the count, just putting them away with whatever pitches that day are getting swing-and-miss and not mess around too much."
Matt Reynolds recorded the final out of the eighth and Rodolfo Martinez tossed a 1-2-3 final frame to earn the save in his Eastern League debut after leading the California League in the save department with 22.
In the first inning, Ali Castillo belted an RBI triple and Ryder Jones drove him in with a sacrifice fly to account for the Flying Squirrels offense.
Indians' No. 9 prospect Rob Kaminsky fell to 2-5 after giving up two runs on two hits and a walk while fanning seven over seven innings for the RubberDucks.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.