After allowing three runs over six innings in his last start, Trevor Bauer said he thought he pitched his "second-best outing all year."
"Maybe I need to throw bad next time," he joked.
By all accounts, the 21-year-old right-hander was as good as ever through his first five starts at the Triple-A level.
On Friday, the D-backs' top prospect allowed five hits in seven shutout innings to lead the Reno Aces to a 4-0 win over the Tucson Padres.
In his first scoreless outing in the Pacific Coast League, Bauer tied a career high with 11 strikeouts to extend his Minor League-leading total to 102 through 80 1/3 innings.
Of the five hits Bauer allowed, only one -- Anthony Contreras' one-out double in the sixth -- went for extra bases. Including Contreras, the UCLA product allowed only two runners into scoring position, neither of whom got beyond second base.
The key to Bauer's success Friday was his control early in counts: MLB.com's No. 7 overlal prospect threw first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 27 batters he faced. He totaled 101 pitches, 67 for strikes, in his longest outing since his Triple-A debut on May 18.
Selected by the D-backs with the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft, the California native improved to 3-0 with a 1.97 ERA through five starts with Reno. That ERA would lead the PCL if Bauer had enough innings to qualify. His 10 wins between Reno and Double-A Mobile rank second in the Minors, one behind Barret Loux of Double-A Frisco.
"He's pretty much done everything he probably could do at Double-A and Triple-A, and he's been very successful at it," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers told The Arizona Republic earlier this week. "Sometimes you've just got to wait your turn, wait for that opportunity. How that opportunity presents itself -- be it an injury, a trade or somebody not performing who ends up going down -- then you take advantage of it. Right now, I don't know who I'd take out of the rotation to make room for him. I don't want to bring him up into the bullpen."
Aces shortstop Jake Elmore singled, drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak to 18 games, while Taylor Harbin went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.