Sampson fans 12 in Missions' victory
Keyvius Sampson knew he probably wouldn't strike out every batter on Saturday night.
"I figured sooner or later a guy would put a good swing on the ball," he said. "I was going right after them with the first pitch, so I thought somebody would come along and hit one on the ground or maybe a fly somewhere."
Still, he gave it a pretty good run.
The Padres' No. 15 prospect fanned the first seven hitters, tied a career high with 12 strikeouts and allowed one hit over seven shutout innings in Double-A San Antonio's 4-2 triumph over Midland.
"My fastball command was really on," said Sampson (7-4), who issued two walks. "And my curve and slider and changeup were all pitches I felt like I could throw at any point in the game."
The 22-year-old right-hander threw 62 of 101 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 2.67, which ranks fourth in the Texas League. He struck out the side in the first, second and fourth innings.
Beau Taylor, the A's No. 17 prospect, was the first RockHound to do something other than striking out when he worked a one-out walk in the third, But Sampson plowed through the inning with a groundout and a fly ball.
San Diego's 2011 Organizational Pitcher of the Year gave up a double to Jefry Marte leading off the fifth.
"He hit a good pitch," Sampson said. "The pitch was down and in, but he dropped the bat head down on the ball and hit it up the line."
While the Florida native knew he lost his no-hit bid, he suspected around the second inning that Saturday might be a special start.
"It was kind of in the back of my head," he said, "but I didn't think too much about it because it was so early in the game."
One out later, Sampson got a comebacker from A's No. 16 prospect Vinnie Catricala and trapped Marte between second and third.
"That was really big because a fly ball could have got the run in if I hadn't been paying attention," he said. "Actually, my catcher, Robert Kral, said something to me and made me check the runner."
Sampson retired Taylor on an inning-ending groundout and, after issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth, did not allow another baserunner. He struck out two in the sixth and set down his final four batters on grounders.
"That felt really good," the 2009 fourth-round pick said. "I'm trying to become more consistent so I can go out there and go six or seven innings every time. Knowing I was getting ground balls meant I was doing a good job of keeping the ball down, so those ground balls were definitely a good thing."
The stellar outing came three days after he asked via Twitter for prayers for his hospitalized brother. But he said family issues haven't had much effect on his focus on the field.
"He's always telling me to just go out there and do my job, which is easier said than done," Sampson said, referring to his brother. "But I know I can go out there and compete. I can't less personal matters affect how I play on the field -- that wouldn't be fair to my teammates."
Padres No. 9 prospect Cory Spangenberg broke up a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the fifth and Jake Blackwood provided insurance with a two-run single in the eighth.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.