Terry Doyle had two pitches working for him on Friday night. Turned out, they were all he needed.
The White Sox prospect recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts and gave up four hits over seven innings as the Double-A Birmingham Barons blanked the Mississippi Braves, 9-0.
Doyle (6-5) walked two and threw 77 of a season-high 115 pitches for strikes. He faced his biggest threat in the seventh, when Donell Linares and Shawn Bowman singled to open the inning. But the 25-year-old right-hander fanned Braeden Schlehuber, retired Sean Henry on a fly ball to right field and fanned Mycal Jones to get out of trouble.
"Today, I had a really good curveball," Doyle said. "I was locating my fastball early in the count and when I was ahead, I could make them chase it; and when I was behind, I could spin it in for a strike. Today was fastball-curveball."
The 2008 37th-round Draft pick lowered his ERA to 3.22 in 14 Southern League starts. He earned a promotion to Double-A in late May after going 1-5 with a 2.84 ERA for Winston-Salem. And he employs a simple philosophy.
"Throwing strikes," Doyle said. "I don't throw too hard and I don't have dominant stuff, so I have to throw strikes, good strikes down in the zone and at the corners."
The Boston College product called this his best start of the season, even better than the ">shutout he pitched against Tennessee on June 26.
"I've had a complete-game three-hitter, but stuff-wise, today I felt better," he said. "I felt like I could throw the ball more accurately. This is probably the best stuff I've had all year."
Doyle has won his last three starts as the Barons prepare for the playoffs after winning the South Division first-half crown.
"I've had a pretty good year, so I'm looking to keep it going and not quit early," he said. "We have playoffs coming up and we're trying to get ready and take home a championship. We're trying to keep the same mentality, we're trying to look at it as the season continuing. We're trying to get back to how we were in the first half when we were winning games."
Leyson Septimo came on in the eighth and worked around a hit and two walks before Tyson Corley finished up for Birmingham. Alden Carrithers went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Seth Loman scored three times.