Left-handed White Sox pitching prospect Spencer Arroyo has spent much of the 2012 season focusing on improving his consistency. That, he says, will determine just how far he can go in this game.
On Sunday, the short-term goals he's been setting to achieve long-term success yielded immediate dividends.
Arroyo carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing three runs on three hits as the Double-A Birmingham Barons beat the Mobile BayBears, 8-4.
"I thought it went really well. [Catcher] Damaso Espino and I were on the same page again and the guys were making plays behind me," said Arroyo, who had never before gone so deep into a game without allowing a hit.
"I've made some big adjustments with my pitching coaches, like staying tall with my legs, driving the ball down in the zone and staying inside the ball. This game is all about consistency and how many times you can repeat your pitch or your delivery."
The 23-year-old set down the side in order in the first inning. He gave up a walk to Matt Davidson to lead off the second, but worked out of the frame unscathed.
After perfect third and fourth innings, Davidson worked another free pass to begin the fifth. But Arroyo retired the next six batters he faced to carry the no-hit bid into the seventh.
"I was trying not to think about it too much," he said. "But after the fifth, I realized it had been five innings and nothing was going on. We were scoring on offense so it was easy to relax. I was just trying to get us back to the dugout.
"Things in the dugout were the same. I sat in the same spot and guys were still sitting next to me. Everybody was more superstitious than I was. They were just trying to do the same things."
Alfredo Marte broke up the no-hitter with a clean single to left field in the seventh, and Matt Davidson and Brent Clevlen followed with singles to end the shutout. A one-out wild pitch plated a third run, but the left-hander set down David Nick and Ed Easley to complete his night.
"I was just trying to get a ground-ball double play," Arroyo said of the first hit. "Marte got a good piece of it and hit it into the outfield. I wanted to go down and away, but he squared it up. They're a good hitting team and I was facing the heart of their order.
"Hitting is contagious, as they say. Once they got the first hit, they wanted to get a couple more. But I was able to get out of the inning having only given up three runs."
Arroyo, who threw 59 of 102 pitches for strikes, lowered his ERA to 3.00 in the outing.
Matt Wickswat allowed a run on two hits and a walk while striking out one batter over two innings in the triumph.
Selected by the Phillies in the 31st round of the 2008 Draft out of Modesto Junior College, Arroyo went 2-6 between Philadelphia's Gulf Coast League affiliate and short-season Wilmington in his first two years in pro ball. The Chicago White Sox then signed Arroyo as a free agent in 2010.
He went 10-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 28 games with Class A Kannapolis last year, and he was 5-3 with a 4.33 mark in 14 games with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in the first three months of 2012 prior to his promotion to the Southern League.
Across the two levels. he's a combined 11-4 with 85 strikeouts over 126 1/3 innings.
Brett Lorin (3-7) allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks over 1 1/3 innings.