INDIANAPOLIS - Best known for throwing a heavy, sinking fastball, Tribe right-hander Clay Holmes went back to his bread-and-butter pitch to toss 7.0 scoreless frames against the visiting Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on June 2 at Victory Field. Holmes induced 11 ground-ball outs, did not walk a single batter and recorded a season-high eight strikeouts in the 8-0 win.
After middling through his first nine appearances (eight starts) of the 2018 season to the tune of a 2-3 record and 5.05 ERA (23 ER/41.0 IP), Holmes rediscovered what made him Indy's 2017 Rookie of the Year winner. Over his final 13 appearances (eight starts) for the Tribe this year, he posted a 6-0 record, 2.15 ERA (13 ER/54.1 IP) and 57 strikeouts against just 14 walks.
In front of 11,117 fans on a Saturday night in downtown Indy, Holmes retired the first six men he faced before surrendering a leadoff single to Ronald Torreyes in the third. A fielder's choice, strikeout and groundout followed to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
Holmes ensured the Tribe's five-run first inning would hold up over the course of the night.
He struck out Clint Frazier and Kyle Higashioka to strand a Brandon Drury single in the fourth. Holmes' dominance continued with another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, and he worked out of his biggest jam when the RailRiders notched a pair of singles in the sixth. Holmes sat down Drury with a hook and Mike Ford with a two-seam fastball over the inside corner to escape trouble.
His final punchout came against Higashioka to open the seventh. Scranton/W-B tallied two more singles, but an outfield assist by Eric Wood kept Holmes' best start of 2018 intact.
Holmes' final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, 98 pitches/66 strikes, Game Score 78
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