As far as birthdays go, it was a pretty good one for Bailey Ober.
The newly turned 23-year-old struck out 10 while scattering five hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Class A Cedar Rapids' 6-2 win over Fort Wayne at Perfect Game Field on Thursday.
Gameday box score
Ober (5-1) gifted himself with one of his more complete outings.
"It was pretty cool," he said. "I think it was one of the first times that I've done it in a while. Back in travel ball, I threw on the day after, but I think this was the first time [on my birthday]. A lot of the guys were coming up to me wishing me a happy birthday, which was nice."
The right-handed Twins prospect gave up a single to Robbie Podorsky to lead off the game, and after the left fielder stole second base, Padres No. 17 prospect Jeisson Rosario singled to left. But Ober punched out 13th-ranked Tirso Ornelas to end the frame, then struck out two more in a perfect second.
"Early in the game, I started to establish fastballs in and out," he said. "Then I started just really using fastballs up to put the guys away. I was also able to get my breaking balls from the middle of the plate down to keep them in check there as well."
After Jalen Washington singled to start the third, Ober retired the next three to get out of the frame. He surrendered Ornelas' base hit to center in the fourth, but again pitched around the blemish.
The College of Charleston alum's fielding error allowed Juan Fernandez to get aboard in the fifth and Rosario singled again in the sixth, but he worked out of trouble. Ober struck out the first two batters in the seventh and exited after walking Washington.
"I'm just taking this one day at a time," he said. "I want to keep every day coming out with the mind-set to get better. The goal isn't to be in low-A, the goal is to be in the Major Leagues one day. So I'm going to keep getting after it."
Ober hadn't posted all zeros on the board since his June 7 victory over Beloit. He threw 103 pitches, 77 for strikes, while notching double-digits in whiffs for the second straight game. He punched out a career-high 12 against Wisconsin on July 5.
"I've really been able to square up hitters to where I really want to put them away once I get up to two strikes," said Ober. "The majority of my strikeouts have been on fastballs up in the zone or a little bit out of the zone. Being able to keep those pitches up and get ahead of hitters has been big."
After playing college ball last year, Ober pitched 28 innings in the Appalachian League. With 57 1/3 frames this season, he's using some of his experience from deep runs for the Cougars to power him into the second half.
"In college, I had thrown 90 to 100 innings and would have been done with my season already," he said. "This season, we're already past halfway and I'm feeling really fresh lately."
Trey Cabbage went 4-for-4, drove in two runs and scored another while Twins No. 10 prospect Akil Baddoo notched two RBIs.