Less than two weeks after tossing eight innings of four-hit ball, Evan Guillory showed he has another gear.
The St. Louis right-hander allowed one hit and struck out five over seven innings Wednesday en route to Class A Peoria's 5-0 win over Burlington at Dozer Park.
Gameday box score
"I kind of had a mix of everything going," said Guillory. "Even further on, they were a really patient hitting team so I tried to mix everything in there and go for as long as I could."
Guillory (5-3) retired the side in order in the first inning before issuing a leadoff walk to Franklin Torres in the second. One out later, Julio Garcia smacked the Bees' lone hit off the right-hander -- a line-drive single to center field. He ended the only inning in which he had any trouble by fanning Jimmy Barnes and retiring Zane Gurwitz on a fly ball to right.
"I think I was really just throwing a lot in the strike zone," said Guillory. "Hitting is hard enough as it is, so I don't really see a reason to pitch out of the strike zone. I just try to pitch to contact and get the hitters to roll over balls early on and trust my defense."
Video: Evan Guillory gets fifth
The 2017 23rd-round pick set down the next 13 batters before walking Torres again in the seventh. He pitched around the rare baserunner and punctuated his night by striking out Kevin Williams Jr. and getting Julio Garcia to pop up to second.
With his fastball working, Guillory was able to also focus on using off-speed pitches later in the counts as he works on developing his curveball and slider.
"Me and my pitching coach [Cale Johnson] have been trying to sharpen my breaking ball and trying to get my fastball to be a little bit better," he said. "Early on in the season, I had a little bit of a problem with it, but lately it's been starting to develop a little bit more."
The Louisiana-Lafayette product lowered his ERA to 2.74, which ranks 10th in the Midwest League. He has 50 strikeouts over 62 1/3 innings, a year after compiling a 2-2 record and a 3.12 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 52 innings, mainly with Rookie-level Johnson City.
So far, Guillory hasn't been fazed by his jump to the Midwest League, and he's already eyeing further progression if he keeps pitching the way he has so far this season.
"From a hitter's standpoint, their approaches are a little bit better," he said. "They don't chase 3-2 pitches or bad breaking balls or fastballs that are nowhere near the strike zone. I want to get moved up, just like every other guy in the Minor Leagues trying to move their own way up. I'm trying to move my way up in the system as fast as possible."
C.J. Saylor gave up a hit and fanned two over the final two innings to nail down Peoria's second shutout of the season.
Cardinals No. 28 prospect Elehuris Montero opened the scoring with an RBI groundout in the first and led off the third with his fifth homer of the season to give Peoria a 4-0 lead. Irving Lopez doubled twice and scored a run for the Chiefs.