Anthony Ranaudo got his delivery under control and, as a result, he got his walks under control.
The Red Sox's No. 8 prospect tied a season high with seven strikeouts and gave up two hits over seven innings on Friday night, pitching Triple-A Pawtucket to a 7-0 blanking of Durham.
Ranaudo (6-4) retired his final 13 batters and threw 63 of 95 pitches for strikes. Only Justin Christian in the second inning and Cole Figueroa in the third reached base against him, with the former the only Bull to reach second after he doubled.
"Since my last start, I made a nice little adjustment with my delivery," Ranaudo said. "I just had a good rhythm out there, the offense did a good job taking a lot of pressure off me early. I was able to focus on throwing strikes and being aggressive and going after guys. [Catcher] Christian Vazquez and I had a nice system going."
For the fourth time this season, the 24-year-old right-hander racked up seven strikeouts, something he credited to pitch selection.
"I had a good mix between my curveball and my fastball," Ranaudo said. "If I had to guess, it would be evenly distributed on my strikeouts with the both of those. I had a good feeling early on about my curveball and I was able to use that to get some strikeouts."
The biggest statistic for the LSU product may have been the lack of walks, as he did not allow a free pass for the first time in 13 starts this season. Control had been something of an issue of late, as Ranaudo had issued four walks in each of his previous three starts.
"I think the adjustment had a lot to do with it," the 2010 first-round pick said. "Once I got back into that [rhythm] tonight, I felt a lot more comfortable and was able to fill up the zone."
"My last couple of starts, I've really been struggling with my rhythm out of my windup. My pitching coach, Rich Sauveur, and I got together and we both thought if I condensed my delivery a little bit things would go a lot smoother. I just made a little adjustment to not having a far dropback on my windup and that was working really well for me."
Ranaudo moved into a third-place tie for wins in the International League, is tied for fifth with 64 strikeouts and ranks eighth with a 2.79 ERA.
Jose Valdez tossed a perfect eight and Chris Resop worked around a hit in the ninth to finish off the PawSox's sixth shutout of the season.
Vazquez, Boston's 10th-ranked prospect, provided the bulk of the offense with his first Triple-A homer and four RBIs. As Vazquez's batterymate, Ranaudo had high praise for the 23-year-old backstop.
"Christian is one of my really good friends on the team and for him to have success like this, it's great," Ranaudo said. "I know he's a great hitter. I've played with him for three years, so I think everybody is excited that he's starting to swing the bat well. Defensively behind the plate, he's second to none and he calls a great game. As a pitcher, you're real confident out there knowing that Christian knows the hitters."
Bulls starter Enny Romero fell to 3-6 after allowing six runs on eight hits over three innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.