Blach fans 11 in eight shutout innings

Giants southpaw maintains stellar strikeouts-to-walks ratio

By Josh Jackson / Special to | May 21, 2013 10:37 PM ET

The way Ty Blach put it, piling up a career-high 11 strikeouts over eight innings sounds easy.

"Those just come from executing pitches," he said.

The Giants' No. 19 prospect gave up three hits and a walk -- his first in 23 2/3 innings -- to set the tone in Class A Advanced San Jose's 8-0 blanking of Inland Empire.

Blach (6-1) lowered his ERA to 1.89, leapfrogging teammate Chris Marlowe for tops in the California League. He helped the Giants become the first California League team to reach 30 wins this season. They also lead the circuit with a 3.15 ERA and rank second with three shutouts.

"Chris is a great guy. He's having a great year so far. It's fun to feed off each other," Blach said. "Our starting rotation has been very successful and we've all been able to feed off each other. It motivates us to see a guy do really well. We want to go out there and see if we can do better, but at the same time we're pulling for that guy to do even better the next time."

The 30 wins are the result of "a team effort," he added.

"There have been days when we haven't pitched well and our hitting has picked us up. There've been days when our hitting hasn't been great and our pitchers have been able to come through."

On Tuesday, all of the elements of the Giants' game were working, although Blach singlehandedly recorded 11 of the 24 outs with which he was tasked and Bryce Bandilla struck out the side in the ninth.

"[The 66ers] swung the bats well, actually, and hit a lot balls hard. But our defense was just great behind me," Blach said. "The team played awesome -- fantastic defense -- and Jeff Arnold, my catcher, called a great game."

Inland Empire's first hit came two outs into the opening inning as Angels No. 18 prospect Alex Yarbaugh popped a ball just beyond the reach of first baseman Angel Villalona.

"I made a good pitch," Blach said. "It was a changeup and it just kind of looped over into the Bermuda Triangle."

The 22-year-old southpaw gave up a line-drive single to Zach Borenstein but retired Michael Snyder on a ground ball to third to end the inning.

"The hitters are going to get hits, that's part of the game. My job is to limit that and make them earn runs," Blach said.

The Creighton University product was perfect from the second inning through the fifth, fanning the first two hitters in both the second and third.

"I'm just trying to get hitters to get themselves out," he said. "This game is hard enough as it is for hitters, and as a pitcher you have to simplify. ... I'm focused on executing my pitches and if I do that well, I'm doing my job."

After a leadoff single in the sixth by Trevor Hairgrove, Blach set down seven in a row before walking Zach Wright.

"I got ahead early and I missed on a couple pitches when I was ahead," he said. "Walks are going to happen every now and again. For me, it's just about executing one pitch at a time. When you walk a guy, yeah, you're a little frustrated, but you need to move on to the next pitch. That's the way to be successful in this game."

The Giants used their fifth-round pick in last year's Draft on Blach, who struck out as many as nine in a game in college. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his seven professional starts, which is especially impressive considering he was assigned directly to the notoriously hitter-friendly California League. Among the circuit's strikeout leader, he's the only one in the top 20 with fewer than 10 walks. The one walk and 11 strikeouts he posted Tuesday match his ratio for the season (four walks, 44 punchouts).

"It's been awesome. The team we have is really good. I've been lucky to have the opportunity here," Blach said. "You get into some of these parks and the ball really carries. But it's going to be like that at any level. Hopefully, you just go out there and execute pitches."

Mark Sappington, the Angels' No. 9 prospect, fell to 5-1 after giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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