Brown pitches six one-hit innings

A's prospect emerges from bullpen, shines in spot start

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | May 25, 2012 9:26 PM ET

Jacob Brown found out Thursday he'd be getting a start. Everyone else found out Friday why he got the assignment.

The A's farmhand gave up one hit over six scoreless innings in the Class A Advanced Stockton Ports' 6-2 win over the visiting Visalia Rawhide.

"'Webby,' [manager] Webster Garrison, called me into the office and told me," Brown said. "It was nothing new -- I've gotten a couple of spot-starts -- but I was excited."

Brown (2-3) issued a first-inning walk to Chris Owings and a third-inning single to Carter Bell before retiring the final 12 batters in his longest and best outing of the season. He struck out four.

"It was a fastball down [to Owings]," Brown said. "I was keeping with my game plan of attacking the hitter. He hit a line drive that dropped into center field. I wasn't about to let him get to second."

And he didn't. In fact, no Rawhide baserunner advanced past first base.

"I was keeping the ball down in the zone, and that means my changeup is working down -- I'm a fastball-changeup guy," said Brown, who also mixes in a curveball and cutter.

Brown, Oakland's 26th-round pick in the 2010 Draft out of Georgia Southern University, finished 2011 with the Ports, compiling a 5.55 ERA in 20 games (18 starts). But nine of his first 12 appearances in 2012 have come out of the bullpen.

"I had a roller-coaster, up-and-down year with my starting outings" last season, Brown said. "I fee like I'm more confident. [This year], I'm mainly just being aggressive and not letting anything affect me on the day I pitch."

After Friday, the 25-year-old left-hander sports a 2.13 ERA with a 31-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 34 innings.

"Whatever they want me to do is fine," said Brown, who snapped a personal two-game losing streak, of starting or relieving.

The Ports scored three runs in the first two innings and added three in Brown's sixth and final frame when Miles Head emptied the bases with a double to center field. Head, whom the A's acquired from the Red Sox over the offseason, led the attack with three hits and four RBIs.

"Miles has really adjusted to the Cal League," Brown said of Head, who ranks third with a 1.043 OPS. "He's a new guy this year. I didn't really know what to expect and he has definitely opened my eyes. I also love having him at third base."

Making his second Class A Advanced start, Visalia's Jeffrey Shields (1-1) yielded all six runs on nine hits and exited with two down in the sixth.

D-backs' No. 11 prospect and 2009 first-round pick Bobby Borchering hit his sixth homer, a two-run shot off reliever T.J. Walz in the seventh.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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