Success in the playoffs depends on pitching. Amir Garrett exemplified that with a dominant performance for the Tortugas on Tuesday.
Cincinnati's No. 3 prospect took a no-hitter into the seventh inning while tying a career high with 12 strikeouts as Class A Advanced Daytona blanked Clearwater, 3-0, on Tuesday. He did not issue any walks.
Garrett retired the first 11 batters in order before Andrew Pullin reached on a wild pitch after being struck out with two down in the fourth inning. The 23-year-old left-hander kept the Threshers out of the hit column until Rhys Hoskins singled with two outs in the seventh.
"Coming into the game, I was pretty hyped up being a playoff game," Garrett said. "Clearwater is a very good team, they were one of the best hitting teams in the league. I was getting ahead with my fastball. My slider and changeup were working good.
"My slider had a lot of bite. I kept them off balance all night. I think that was the key to the game."
Heading on the road for the rest of the best-of-3 series, Garrett knew full well the importance of taking the opener at Jackie Robinson Field.
"The first game is always the important game," the California native said. "We didn't want to be in survival mode tomorrow. We have the momentum going into the game. We just have to improve on what we did today and come out strong."
After finishing second in the league with a 2.44 ERA and 133 strikeouts, Garrett was an easy choice to open the playoffs for the Tortugas. MLB.com's No. 75 prospect was thrilled with what he accomplished.
"It feels great," said Garrett, who struck out 12 on May 30 against Clearwater. "My teammates played really hard for me. We got the offense going early. I think this is a good statement for us. This is playoff baseball and we're ready to go."
Reliever Carlos Gonzalez gave up a hit and struck out two in the eighth and Alejandro Chacin issued a walk in a hitless ninth to earn the save.
Taylor Sparks slugged a solo homer and Daniel Pigott singled home a run for Daytona.
Ricardo Pinto was tagged with the loss, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out six and walking three over six innings.