D-backs pitching savant Trevor Bauer is his own harshest critic.
After starting the season in perfect form and carrying a no-hit bid into the fifth inning Thursday, the former first-round Draft said there's still plenty of room to improve.
Bauer, who can throw as many as nine different pitches anywhere in the count, scattered a pair of hits over five shutout frames in the Double-A Mobile BayBears' 5-2 victory over the Mississippi Braves.
"If I hold myself to higher expectations than everybody else, I only have one person to disappoint," Bauer joked. "I know myself pretty well and what I'm capable of, so I hold myself to a pretty tough standard. If you don't, you start to be happy with outings like tonight and you can get complacent.
"I still need to make small adjustments. I have to make sure my slider is more consistent and I have to throw my curveball more."
Selected third overall in last year's Draft, Bauer (1-0) set down the first 11 batters before issuing consecutive two-out walks to Joe Leonard and Ian Gac.
"I'm disappointed I walked three people tonight, but I'm also happy that I only gave up one hard-hit ball," the UCLA product said. "It could have been one walk, realistically, but that barely matters."
The D-backs' top prospect struck out Adam Milligan to preserve the no-hitter. But Braves' No. 17 prospect Todd Cunningham broke up Bauer's shot at history an inning later with a one-out base hit to center field.
"I was going to throw a curveball away, but I second-guessed myself," Bauer said. "At the last minute, I decided to go with a reverse slider down and away. It wasn't a bad pitch, but it was the wrong pitch.
"After the fourth inning, I asked [pitching coach] Dan Carlson how many pitches I had thrown and he was trying to keep away from me. It was kind of an awkward conversation. I would rather him say that as long as I had a no-hitter going I could stay out there. That got me thinking about it more."
Cunningham's hit was followed by Barrett Kleinknecht's bunt single and a walk to Brahiam Maldonado that loaded the bases. But the 21-year-old right-hander fanned Mycal Jones and got Philip Gosselin to ground out to short to escape unscathed.
"I located my fastball and my changeup really well, and my curveball was consistent," said Bauer, who threw 50 of 86 pitches for strikes. "I felt good. I threw a couple different variations of my slider and I hit my spots up in the zone.
"My mechanics got away from me in the middle, but that's something I can work on. Pitching is more than just not giving up hits."
Bauer went 1-2 with a 5.96 ERA in seven starts between Class A Visalia and Mobile last year. Held to strict pitch counts in his first season, he struck out 43 over 25 2/3 innings.
Alfredo Marte slugged a three-run homer in the top of the first to give Bauer all the support he needed. David Nick went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Luis Avilan (0-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits and three walks over four frames. He struck out four.