RockHounds right-hander Gary Daley kicked off the second half of the Texas League season with a gem Wednesday night, pitching eight innings of one-hit ball in Double-A Midland's 3-1 win at Frisco.
A third-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 Draft, Daley allowed one unearned run while fanning six, walking three and hitting one batter. He threw 102 pitches -- two shy of his season high -- and induced a remarkable 17 groundball outs without a flyout.
"I can't remember having a better outing than tonight's," Daley said. "Frisco has a lot of good, aggressive hitters, so I tried to go after them and be aggressive myself.
"The game plan was to attack the zone with my sinker. We stuck with it and it worked out well."
Daley didn't get off to a smooth start, however. He walked Davis Stoneburner to open the first inning. After Renny Osuna grounded out, Daley plunked Tommy Mendonca. But the A's farmhand then settled in to retire the next nine RoughRiders before walking Mendonca to start the fourth.
Mendonca was quickly erased when Mike Bianucci grounded into a double play -- one of two that Midland turned behind Daley.
Frisco's only hit came when Jonathan Greene led off the fifth by looping a 1-1 pitch to right. Daley later issued a one-out walk to Jose Felix, but got out of the jam when Guilder Rodriguez bounced into an inning-ending double play.
"I thought I made a good pitch, but he got enough of it to get it over our second baseman's head," Daley said. "That's the way baseball goes."
The RoughRiders got on the board in the sixth when Stoneburner reached on a fielding error by Midland third baseman Stephen Parker. Osuna followed by grounding into a fielder's choice to erase Stoneburner. The Frisco second baseman stole second, moved to third on catcher Petey Paramore's throwing error and scored on a Mendonca groundout.
Daley (2-1) cruised through perfect seventh and eighth frames. His eight innings marked the longest outing of the 25-year-old's career, spanning 130 games -- 84 starts.
"The A's are pretty stringent about pitch counts and I was close to mine," he said. "It would have great to try and finish the game, but I'm really happy with it either way."
Closer Neil Wagner needed just eight pitches to record his fourth save with a flawless ninth.
Midland's bats were nearly as quiet as Frisco's, generating just three hits. Two of them -- and two of the RockHounds' runs -- were shortstop Grant Green's.
The 13th overall pick in the 2009 Draft, Green singled and scored on an Adam Heether single in the fourth and slugged his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot, with two out in the fifth. The 23-year-old also drew a pair of walks.
RoughRiders starter Martin Perez fell to 4-2 after giving up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and two walks over six innings. The southpaw struck out five.
Daley's gem stopped two Frisco streaks cold. Mendonca entered the game with a 13-game hitting streak, while Bianucci had collected multiple hits in his previous four contests.
The RockHounds had gone 10-24 on the road in the first half of the season -- second-worst in the league.