Matt Barnes struck out 12 and allowed one run over six innings in his Class A Advanced debut. He fanned eight and surrendered one run again over the same span in his second start at the level.
But Wednesday may have been his best outing in a Salem uniform yet.
The Red Sox's No. 5 prospect allowed only two hits and a walk over six shutout frames in the Red Sox's 2-0 blanking of Carolina.
With the win, Barnes improved to 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his three starts spanning 18 innings for Boston's Carolina League affiliate. His 0.60 ERA and his 0.65 WHIP for the year between Salem and Class A Greenville top all Minor Leaguers. His .148 opponents' batting average is tied for fourth.
The Connecticut native, Boston's first-round pick in last June's Draft, struck out four of the first seven Mudcats he faced Wednesday. He only fanned one more Carolina hitters over the remaining 3 1/3 innings.
Despite striking out a season-low five, the 6-foot-4 right-hander extended his Minor League-leading total in the category to 67 between two levels. (D-backs' top prospect Trevor Bauer, who was promoted to Triple-A Reno on Wednesday, ranks second with 60 punchouts.)
Barnes did not allow more than one baserunner to reach in any of his six frames and only allowed one -- Delvi Cid in the sixth inning -- to get into scoring position. The sixth frame, in fact, provided the only real test for the righty on the night. After walking Cid with one out, the Carolina left fielder stole second base and then proceeded to third on a Tyler Holt groundout. Barnes escaped the inning unscathed by forcing another groundout by Tony Wolters.
He finished the game with 74 pitches, 47 for strikes.
The Red Sox's No. 7 prospect Brandon Jacobs tied a season high for hits in a game with a 3-for-4 performance from Salem's cleanup spot.
First baseman Travis Shaw went 2-for-4 with a double and run. His .360 batting average ranks second in the Carolina League behind teammate and No. 18 Boston prospect Jackie Bradley.