Fort Myers' Shibuya shuts down Charlotte

Twins hurler carries no-hitter into seventh in Miracle's 10-0 shutout

Tim Shibuya is 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA in two starts since Fort Myers moved him into the rotation. (Linwood Ferguson)

By Kelsie Heneghan / | June 11, 2014 1:40 AM

When Tim Shibuya gave up a hit with one out in the seventh inning Tuesday, two words crossed his mind.

"Darn it," the Twins prospect thought after he lost his bid for history on Patrick Leonard's single.

"I didn't make the right pitch, didn't make it in the right location," he said. "He battled back from 1-2 count. But you just have to move on and get the next guy out."

The 24-year-old did strike next batter Justin O'Conner out. Kes Carter lined a single, but Shibuya got Jonathan Quinone to fly out to complete seven two-hit innings as Class A Advanced Fort Myers blanked Charlotte, 10-0.

"After the fifth inning, I realized something was going on out here," he said. "I was just trying to go deep to give the bullpen a break after [Monday when] they had to pitch a lot. … I was working fastballs in and out, cutter, changeup, curveball to keep hitters off balance. [Catcher] Stuart [Turner] and I had a good game plan and we executed it well."

In just his second start of the season, Shibuya (4-2) cruised through the first six innings, hitting Leonardo Reginatto with a pitch in the fourth as his only blemish during that time. The 6-foot-1 hurler had been a part of a combined no-hitter in 2011, but had yet to accomplish the feat on his own.

The UC San Diego product got a comfortable cushion in the fifth -- an eight-run frame highlighted by Stephen Wickens' grand slam. When the second baseman came to the plate, the starting pitcher and his catcher changed their conversation from pitching strategies to scoring possibilities.

"Let's have Wick break this game open," Turner said.

"I'm OK with that," Shibuya replied.

The right-hander had to sit on the bench for an extended period of time, but with a 10-run lead, it was a break he welcomed.

"I kept moving and walking around a lot to keep myself loose. It was nice to have the offense put up some big numbers," Shibuya said. "It's just nice to have that buffer, to have some room for error. You don't change your routine … your job is always to get outs."

The California native was recently called upon to get more of them, though. After 17 relief appearances, Shibuya was asked to fill in for a few injured starters and return to the place where his career began -- the starting rotation.

In his first start against Lakeland on June 5, the 2011 Draft pick allowed two runs -- one earned -- on four hits over four frames. He got to go much deeper in start No. 2.

"It's fun to get extended, have a little more of a pitch count. I'm just trying to put my team in a position to win, just fighting for my team for a playoff spot," Shibuya said. "I'd like to stay in the rotation, but if they send me to the bullpen, that's what I'll do and I'll help my team win from there."

No. 9 Rays prospect Blake Snell (1-2) allowed four runs -- three earned -- on two hits and three walks over four frames in his third start since being promoted from Class A Bowling Green.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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