Garabito flashes nasty stuff for Legends

Righty Royals prospect yields unearned run over six hitless innings

Gerson Garabito has a 4.37 ERA in his last 10 starts for the Lexington Legends. (Lexington Legends)

By Robert Emrich / | August 22, 2016 11:53 PM ET

In the past two games, Class A Lexington's starting pitchers have combined for 11 hitless innings.

Royals right-hander Gerson Garabito allowed an unearned run on three walks and struck out three over six no-hit innings Monday as the Legends fell to the visiting Hagerstown Suns, 3-1. That followed on the heels of A.J. Puckett's five hitless frames in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader.

Garabito retired his first 11 batters before walking Kelvin Gutierrez with two outs in the fourth frame. The 21-year-old issued a pair of free passes and gave up an unearned run on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by Jake Noll in the fifth, but bounced back with a 1-2-3 sixth.

"He had a good three-pitch mix," Lexington pitching coach Mitch Stetter said. "Threw some good curveballs, some good changeups and his fastball command was really good early. His misses were just off the plate. As he went, he started missing up a little in the last two innings, but he was right around the zone for most of the day.

"He kept his focus after the run. The fifth inning, he started missing up with his fastball. Just getting a little out of his delivery, getting a little quick to the plate. He was able to make pitches and get out of the inning. We sent him out for the sixth and he got three ground balls to second base. He was still missing up a little bit, it was an easy decision to get him out after six."

Making his full-season debut, Garabito went 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA in his first six starts. Since then, the native of the Dominican Republic is 2-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 starts.

"He was in the [Rookie-level] Arizona League last year," Stetter said. "I talked to him after his first outing, he told me that he was really nervous. That's gotta be a normal thing. Getting acclimated to that and the environment and his first time being on a full-season club and seeing how the travel works, it's a lot different. He's working hard and doing a good job of staying in his delivery."

Strong starting pitching has been something of a theme of late for the Legends. Puckett, the Royals' No. 17 prospect, set a high bar in Sunday's outing.

"It was really impressive," the former Major Leaguer said. "I thought his last couple of outings, he hadn't had the fastball command he had. Then yesterday, his fastball command was what did it for him. His best pitch is usually his changeup and he didn't really have his changeup. [Sunday], he was just moving his fastball around, up and down, in and out and was able to get ground balls and easy innings."

"The starters have been doing a great job lately. We've gotten a good start out of everybody. We had [Scott] Blewett and [Julio] Pinto and [Nolan] Watson and Puckett and now Garabito. They've been doing a great job. They're trying to finish up strong. They can see the finish line and everybody is staying focused. Everybody is still preparing the same way they were early in the year. That's a key part of it, to keep on your routine."

Mark McCoy (4-2) allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while fanning two over 2 2/3 innings in relief of Garabito. Brian Bayliss struck out the only batter he faced.

Hagerstown starter Taylor Guilbeau (3-2) gave up a run on three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over six frames.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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