Figaro shaves pitch count in three-hitter

Whitecaps ace halts season-high six-game skid with 10-0 rout

Alfredo Figaro's command was better Sunday than during his 11-K game, his pitching coach said. (Emily Smith/

June 1, 2008 3:56 PM ET

Alfredo Figaro's pitch count stands at 110. And that's precisely how many West Michigan's ace threw in a complete-game three-hitter against Dayton.

Figaro's second career complete-game shutout enabled the defending Midwest League-champion Whitecaps to snap a season-high six-game losing streak with a 10-0 blanking of the Dragons at Fifth Third Field.

Figaro struck out two and did not issue a walk for the second time this season. He also threw 79 pitches for strikes, reaching his limit when Keltavious Jones lined the final pitch of the afternoon to shortstop Audy Ciriaco.

"In a game like that, it's something special," West Michigan pitching coach Mark Johnson said. "We were going to give him a shot [if Ciriaco had gotten on base.] In my mind, he earned a shot to face the next hitter."

The 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic put just one runner in scoring position and retired the final 11 hitters after Zachary Cozart doubled in the sixth inning.

Figaro became the league's third seven-game winner, joining Clinton's Kennil Gomez and Kane County's Craig Italiano. He also lowered his ERA to 1.22 -- second in the league to Italiano.

"I had good command," he said. "I was throwing it real hard today -- 95 to 98 (miles per hour)."

Figaro's other complete-game shutout was an 11-strikeout performance over Quad Cities on May 4. He retired 22 consecutive hitters in that contest, but Johnson thinks this showing may have been even more impressive.

"He's showed good command all year with his fastball," Johnson said. "Today, he was locked in. He had a plan where he wanted it and executed his pitches."

That plan resulted in 12 groundball outs and 12 flyball outs.

"He had good command of his fastball for a lot of groundball outs," Johnson said. "He attacked hitters well. For me, his fastball command was a big asset."

It was clutch for the Whitecaps (28-26).

"It was a huge game for us," Johnson said. "We swung the bats well. We pitched well. We played good defense. It was fun baseball."

Things hadn't been quite as fun the previous six games since West Michigan scored 12 total runs. They were two shy of that total Sunday, putting the game out of reach with a six-run sixth.

Christopher Carlson and Justin Henry supported Figaro's gem with home runs as the Whitecaps remained two games behind the first-place Lansing Lugnuts in the Eastern Division.

Carlson homered for the third time in four games and capped the sixth with a two-run shot. Kody Kaiser smacked a three-RBI double and Kyle Peter added a run-scoring base hit.

Henry opened the scoring with a three-run shot in the fourth.

Former fifth-round pick Joshua Ravin (1-2) allowed four runs on five hits in four innings. Reliever Steven Otterness allowed six runs on four hits in 1 2/3 frames for Dayton, which has lost four in a row.

Larry Fleisher is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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