Casey Crosby got a brief taste of the big leagues. That taste is what will help make him a better pitcher.
The Tigers' No. 4 prospect allowed one hit and struck out four over seven scoreless innings Saturday night as the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens cruised to an 8-1 victory over the Columbus Clippers.
Crosby (5-2) took a no-hitter into the sixth before allowing a leadoff single to Matt Pagnozzi, who was immediately erased on Ryan Rohlinger's double play. The 23-year-old left-hander faced two batters over the minimum and threw 58 of 99 pitches for strikes.
"I was throwing my inside fastball really well tonight," Crosby said. "I was making adjustments a lot quicker than I usually do. My changeup wasn't working at first, but later in the game I was able to make some tweaks and throw it for strikes. I was able to mix it up, and making them hit and not throw away from contact."
Crosby made three starts for the Tigers earlier this month, going 1-1 with a 9.49 ERA before returning to the Mud Hens on June 20. He believes that while his time with Detroit was brief, he learned something about how to pitch.
"Basically, just not do too much," Crosby said. "Trust that you can get guys out throwing higher pitches in the zone. It helped me calm down a lot because going to the Majors is a big step and it makes you grow up real fast as a pitcher. It helps you stay calm in pressure situations."
As for beating Cleveland on June 7 for his first Major League win?
"It was amazing," he said. "I never thought in my wildest dreams as a kid that I would win a Major League game. It was an unbelievable feeling, I couldn't stop smiling."
Against Columbus, the 2007 fifth-round Draft pick was helped by a defense that turned three double plays.
"My defense was amazing, all those double plays that [shortstop Argenis] Diaz and [second baseman Justin] Henry turned," Crosby said. "I walked four guys tonight, so there were some baserunners. I'd get a ground ball and it'd be like an automatic double play."
Toledo's shutout bid ended in the ninth when Trevor Crowe hit a leadoff double and scored on a sacrifice fly by the rehabbing Travis Hafner.
John Lindsey was 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, while Ben Guez contributed three hits and drove in two runs for the Mud Hens.