After dropping eight straight decisions over a nearly 2 1/2-month stretch, Jon Moscot was ready for a win.
"It's been a little frustrating. I won't lie," he admitted.
Moscot left nothing to chance on Saturday night.
The Reds prospect retired his first 13 hitters, allowed three hits over a career-high eight innings and struck out six without issuing a walk as Class A Advanced Bakersfield cruised to a 10-0 victory at Lake Elsinore.
"I was just getting ahead with my fastball and guys were swinging early in counts. I was getting a lot of ground balls and the defense was great behind me," Moscot said. "It was a lot of things, really, but I was just trying to force contact, pounding the strike zone."
Moscot improved to 2-14, despite a 4.59 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League and 112 strikeouts against 36 walks over 115 2/3 innings.
"[Ken] Griffey is a great manager and he's told me not to worry about [the losing streak] and to just concentrate on how I'm pitching and on the work I'm doing," he said. "I can't focus on what anybody else is doing."
Facing the Storm, against whom he was 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in three previous starts, Moscot zipped along into the fifth.
"It was probably the best I felt in a long time," he said. "Everything seemed to be working for me -- they couldn't get a bead on anything."
When Lake Elsinore's Jeremy Baltz blooped a single to left field with one out in the fifth, Moscot knew he couldn't dwell on the end of his perfect run.
"I had an experience like that before. But it was with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, in college at Pepperdine," he said. "You let it go. It happened, and it happens. You just have to keep making pitches and keeping the ball down."
Still, his concentration was momentarily loosened, which he admitted partially contributed to hitting the next batter, second-ranked Padres prospect Austin Hedges.
"Obviously, I wanted to keep it going. The pitch got away little bit," Moscot said. "It wasn't just because of the hit. I made a bad pitch and got him in on the changeup."
The 21-year-old right-hander ended the threat by inducing consecutive ground balls.
"That was huge. That was great defense there," Moscot said. "They were snagging everything. I definitely gave a little fist pump."
Moscot gave up a single to B.J. Guinn in the sixth and a double to Hedges in the seventh but worked a perfect eighth. He handed the ball to Jake Johnson, who worked around a single, a wild pitch and a walk in the ninth to complete the Blaze's sixth shutout of the season.
The victory was even sweeter for Moscot, a Pacific Palisades native who had friends in the stands, including his girlfriend, who traveled across the county to see him pitch.
"My girlfriend is from the East Coast, so we're plugging along, hopefully thinking I'll get moved up to one of the teams on the East Coast some day," he said. "But she was here tonight. I'm really happy about that, that she got to see that. I had lots of friends here tonight, actually, about 25 people. It was great to get those results with them all here."
Lake Elsinore's James Needy (6-4) kept pace with Moscot until the sixth, when the first seven batters reached base and came around to score.
Juan Duran drilled a three-run homer and Juan Silva collected three hits and three RBIs for Bakersfield. Juan Silverio and Steve Selsky drove in two runs apiece.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.