Tyler Chatwood has been decidedly unfriendly to hitters in a league that's known for being hitter-friendly.
Chatwood faced two batters over the minimum over eight innings for his California League-leading eighth win Friday as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes blanked the Inland Empire 66ers, 5-0.
The 2008 second-round Draft pick yielded a two-out single in the first inning to Tommy Giles, who promptly was caught stealing. Johan Garcia reached on an error in the third and Giles doubled in the fourth for the 66ers' last hit.
Chatwood (8-2) retired the last 14 batters he faced before exiting after throwing 102 pitches.
"I was throwing all three pitches for strikes and letting the defense make plays," he said. "I trust the defense behind me and I trust my catchers, who've been calling great games all season."
Chatwood's been nothing short of great all season. In addition to his eight wins, he's second with a 1.67 ERA in a league which has cumulative ERA of 4.35. He is unbeaten in eight starts since April 29 and has held opponents to a .237 batting average.
"There are definitely great hitters in this league," Chatwood said. "It's about trusting your stuff and throwing it down in the zone, getting ahead in the count and letting them get themselves out."
Trusting his repertoire of a fastball, curve and changeup is something the 20-year-old right-hander has been working on with pitching coach Dan Ricabal.
"It's been clicking throughout the season," Chatwood said.
The Quakes staked him to a quick lead, scoring four times in the opening inning. Darwin Perez led off the game with a triple and trotted home on Tyson Auer's base hit. After Alexi Amarista walked, Gabe Jacobo smacked a three-run homer, giving him hits in seven of his last 10 at-bats.
"He's locked in right now," Chatwood said. "He's been hitting the ball well all season, but he's squaring everything up right now."
Jacobo, who homered three times on Thursday, capped the scoring with an RBI single in the fifth.