Starting the year with Class A Hickory, Tyler Davis made one start and allowed four runs over 3 2/3 innings. Climbing a level to Class A Advanced Down East, he posted a 6.61 ERA in four starts and a 9.15 mark in nine relief appearances. Now in the Texas League, something's clicking.
Davis tossed a three-hitter for his first career complete game, striking out six without issuing a walk, as Double-A Frisco blanked San Antonio, 9-0, on Tuesday night at Nelson Wolff Stadium.
"It was just trusting the game plan me and Jose Trevino, our catcher, and [Brian] Shouse, our pitching coach, had in place," Davis said after improving to 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 Double-A starts. "I'm really just trusting my stuff, going with attacking the zone and forcing them to put the ball in play."
Video: Davis completes shutout for RoughRiders
Davis diced through the Missions lineup all night, facing one batter over the minimum and generating two double plays. The only three hits the right-hander allowed were singles, and no San Antonio runner advanced past first base. That success meant Davis didn't have to change much.
"I've always just been a firm believer in making the adjustments when the hitters force you to adjust," he said. "If what's working is working, I'm not going to try to do too much and overthink it. I'm just going to try to trust my stuff and trust Jose behind the plate. He's going to put me in a great position at all times."
Gameday box score
The rhythm established by Davis and Trevino not only led to the University of Washington product's first complete game, his outing got the "Maddux" distinction -- a complete-game shutout in fewer than 100 pitches. Davis threw 97, 63 for strikes, in Frisco's first nine-inning complete game since Joe Wieland pitched a no-hitter on July 29, 2011 at San Antonio.
Frisco also gave him a long leash to work with.
"It's a lot of fun, obviously," he said. "I wouldn't necessarily say I'm in the zone, I think it's more of just me and Jose working well together. He and I are on the same page at all times and it really helps not just being able to have that but also the fact that we were able to score nine runs before I even had to go out there. It just made it to where I could take a deep breath and say all I had to do was get our team back in to hit as quick as possible."
The RoughRiders sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the first and scored nine times, with eight earned runs charged to Padres No. 15 prospect Jacob Nix. He recorded two outs and surrendered seven hits and a walk before being lifted in favor of Jake Esch, who promptly yielded a two-out, three-run homer to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the third baseman's second hit of the inning.
"When they were going through the pitching change in the first inning, I went out and threw a couple pitches in the bullpen just to kind of get loosened up again, make sure I wasn't tight or anything like that going back out to start the game," Davis said. "I was just happy that we had a great offensive inning that inning and had some great run support. I didn't want to waste it."
Video: RoughRiders' Davis fans Tatis Jr.
The first matched the second-best inning in RoughRiders history, one behind the 10-run fourth on May 8, 2008 at Corpus Christi.
Davis has pitched into the seventh in five of his 10 Texas League starts, yielding one earned run or fewer in seven of them.
"It's just trusting my stuff, trusting Jose behind the plate and trusting the defense behind me," he said. "Knowing that they're going to put me in a great position to use what I have in order to be successful and being able to have a good routine when I'm starting here just helps a lot, too. [So does] knowing what I'm going to get done each day in order to make sure that I'm ready for the next start, the next time I have to go out there and pitch. Giving my team a chance to win I get out there, that's all that really matters."
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But even after a banner night, Davis' biggest goal is his next start.
"I'm enjoying this tonight, but at the same time forgetting about it and understanding that the next time I go out there, it's going to be against Midland," he said. "They're a really good team, really good offensive team, and I have to respect them and take them as seriously as possible and make sure that I do everything to prepare to be successful again."
Rangers No. 23 prospect Scott Heineman went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored for Frisco.
Fourth-ranked Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. was among the Missions who couldn't solve Davis. Making his Double-A debut, the 18-year-old shortstop went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and started one of San Antonio's two double plays.