Anderson moves to 3-0 in third start

Rockies first-round draftee strong for seven in Asheville win

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | May 23, 2012 11:55 AM ET

A dozen days into his pro career, pitcher Tyler Anderson has one aim.

"My only goal is take one game at a time," Anderson said, "and not let them blend together."

That may be harder to achieve if every outing ends in victory.

Anderson -- the Rockies' first-round draftee last June and No. 5 prospect this month -- moved to 3-0 at Class A Asheville after contributing seven strong innings in his third start, a 7-2 victory over the visiting Greenville Drive. The Tourists have won seven straight games.

The 22-year-old lefty struck out six and recorded 11 outs on the ground. He retired 13 of his first 14 batters before encountering trouble in the fifth: Lucas LeBlanc doubled and scored on Blake Swihart's ensuing double.

"I don't have overpowering stuff so I have to keep the ball down," Anderson said. "Especially here, it's 290 [feet] to right field and 320 in the gaps. It's like a Little League field. Being under control and living in the strike zone is important."

Anderson -- he wields a fastball, changeup, slider, curveball and cutter -- also allowed an unearned run in the seventh: David Renfroe doubled and scored a batter later on Tourists first baseman Harold Riggins' fielding error.

When Colorado drafted the former University of Oregon standout with the 20th overall pick, it was said they were getting a middle-of-the-rotation starter who would reach the big leagues quickly. Based on his results this month -- in addition to his perfect win-loss record, Anderson, has a 1.89 ERA -- that seems to be short of the best-case scenario.

Anderson also has 14 strikeouts against two walks through his first 19 pro innings. Unofficially, however, he's already up to about 60 innings: Anderson, who said he has been completely recovered from a previous groin injury, made up the difference under the guise of extended spring training action at the organization's facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"I was fine," he said. "I think [the Rockies] just wanted me to build up my innings after not pitching last year."

He made his debut on May 11 in Rome, pitching five solid innings, and followed that up with seven even better frames against Hickory on Friday night.

In his latest triumph, Anderson pitched with a cushion: The home team pushed across six runs in its half of the fourth. Seven of the nine Tourists to bat in the inning recorded a hit, including leadoff man Delta Cleary, who smacked a two-run single and collected a game-high three RBIs.

"Before, if you're being too fine," Anderson said, "after being given a six-run inning, there's plenty of room for error."

All six runs were charged to Drive starter Henry Owens (4-2), who hadn't allowed a hit through three frames and didn't come out for the fifth. Owens, chosen 16 spots after Anderson in the Draft, is the Red Sox's No. 20 prospect.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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