There have been moments in Mike Foltynewicz's brief baseball career where something hasn't quite gone his way and he's chalked it up to the circumstance of the game he plays. The Astros' No. 5 prospect
had one such moment Sunday afternoon when William Beckwith interrupted his sterling outing -- his 50th in the Minor Leagues -- with a solo home run.
"One mistake in 105 pitches," he mused. "That's baseball."
Fortunately, Foltynewicz had more reasons to smile than to sigh. He didn't allow another hit over a career-high eight innings in the Class A Lexington Legends' 4-1 win over the visiting Rome Braves.
When Beckwith, the Braves' slugging first baseman, came to bat in the fourth, Foltynewicz had retired 10 in a row, utilizing his two-seam fastball.
"The first inning, I got scared a little but," Foltynewicz said. "I couldn't find the strike zone, so I went out there with the approach of letting them hit the ball and having my defense work for me.
"The wind was blowing out today, left to right, so I was throwing my two-seam down the middle and letting [it run]. My four-seam, I usually use that 80 percent of the time, but I had to turn that around today."
So what pitch did Beckwith get? You guessed it.
"My first pitch was on the outside corner, a close call, for a ball," Foltynewicz said. "So I threw another two-seamer over the plate to try to get it [to move] back over the outside part of the plate, but it stayed there. He hit a mistake and he hit a long way."
Foltynewicz circled the mound and told himself a solo blast was better than a two-run or three-run shot and got back to his game plan. He went on to retire the final 13 Braves he faced.
Was a first career complete game on his mind?
"In the eighth inning, the second batter, he kept fouling off pitches," said Foltynewicz, who recorded 13 outs on the ground, fanned five and issued two walks. "I looked over to the bullepn and I saw [Carlos] Quevedo getting loose. I was thinking, 'Just get through this inning.'"
He did and Quevedo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the one-hitter and earn his first save.
As a result, Foltynewicz (7-1) secured his seventh straight win, lowering his ERA through a dozen starts to 2.14, which ranks third in the South Atlantic League. The 20-year-old right-hander leads the circuit with 71 1/3 innings or about six per outing.
"I haven't really thought about it, but seven straight is pretty special," he said. "I am getting the hang of things. This is a turnaround for me."
In fact, Foltynewicz -- a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, went 5-11 with a 4.97 ERA in 26 starts for the Legends last season. That explains him repeating the level in 2012.
"The biggest adjustment is the mental approach before the game, working game-like situations in the bullpen," he said. "That's been big for me."
His counterpart on the mound, right-hander Ernesto Silva, gave up four runs on five hits over five frames to fall to 0-5.