Starter Barret Loux and shortstop Jurickson Profar both extended their Minor League-leading streaks Tuesday afternoon as Frisco edged host Midland, 5-4.
Loux, a 23-year-old right-hander, became the first eight-game winner in the Minors after allowing three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three while improving to 8-0 in eight starts. Loux went 8-5 in 21 starts for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach last season and has not lost since July 22, 2011.
"It feels pretty cool [to lead the Minors]," Loux said. "The biggest thing is the fact that we've scored a lot of runs every time I've gone out there. I gave up three today, but we came back and scored four."
It's been a curious path to Double-A dominance for Loux, whom the Diamondbacks made the sixth overall pick in the 2010 Draft. Citing injury concerns, Arizona chose not to tender a contract to the 6-foot-5 hurler and Major League Baseball declared Loux a free agent. The Texas A&M product signed with the Rangers that fall and made his pro debut with Myrtle Beach the following spring.
The youngest player in Double-A at 19 years and not-quite-three months old, Profar ran his hitting streak to 25 games and has reached base in each of his last 34 contests. The No. 6 prospect owns the longest hit streak in the Minors this season and matched Dunedin's Kevin Nolan, who reached base in 34 straight games through May 10.
Profar has collected multiple hits in four of his last six games, with three doubles at Corpus Christi on Saturday and three singles on Tuesday afternoon. He quickly got in the hit column by ripping a one-out single to center in the first inning, later adding a leadoff single in the third and an RBI base knock in Frisco's four-run sixth.
Profar was the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable (and youngest) Player last season and has shown remarkable maturity and consistency after making the jump to Double-A this year. The switch-hitter has failed to reach base in just one of his 36 games this season -- he went 0-for-4 at Springfield on April 6.
"He's pretty remarkable," Loux said of his young shortstop. "Very athletic, has a lot of power and a great arm. It's a lot of fun getting to watch him play."
Loux worked around singles in the first and second innings and a one-out walk in the third before yielding a leadoff homer to Midland center fielder Michael Choice in the fourth. Two outs and a walk later, RockHounds catcher Anthony Aliotti clubbed his second longball of the campaign to give Midland a 3-1 lead.
After working a perfect fifth frame, Loux was pulled with one out and a man on first in the sixth after throwing 83 pitches -- 48 for strikes. His three walks were a season high, and all five of the home runs Loux has allowed have come in his last three starts.
Frisco opened the top of the sixth with four straight hits and ultimately plated four to take a 5-3 lead. That score held until RoughRiders closer Johan Yan ran into trouble in the ninth. Midland's first two batters singled before Yan threw Ryan Lipkin's grounder away on a force attempt, allowing a run to score and leaving the RoughRiders facing runners on second and third with no outs while clinging to a 5-4 lead.
Yan got Dusty Coleman to ground out to second with the infield in, then induced a 4-6-3 double play from Josh Horton after intentionally walking Conner Crumbliss to load the bases. Yan escaped with his league-leading ninth save and Frisco opened up a five-game lead over the second-place RockHounds.
Reliever Carlos Hernandez fell to 0-1 with the RockHounds after surrendering five runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in just two innings. The left-hander is, however, 2-0 in three appearances with Triple-A Sacramento.
Frisco leads the Rangers organization with a 24-14 record, but only Triple-A Round Rock is under .500 in the potent system, which features four prospects in MLB.com's Top 100.
"I'd say we're competitive but I think it's in a good way," said Loux of his fellow prospects trying to reach the Majors. "We're all trying to help each other out, and we're happy to be part of such a great organization.
"I think it's hard to worry about [being called up]. I say, control what you can control. Who knows what it's going to look like at the end? We're just trying to win as many games as we can."