After his team dropped the first game of the California League North Division finals on Saturday, Kyle Crick had a clear mission.
"I knew what I had to do," he said. "I knew I had to go out there and put zeros on the board."
The Giants' top prospect allowed three hits and struck out seven over seven innings Sunday night as San Jose evened the best-of-5 series with a 2-0 blanking of Visalia.
"I felt like I if I came out and executed pitchers and worked with the game plan, it'd work out," said Crick, who did not walk a batter. "It was just pitching to the glove."
In his final regular-season start, the 20-year-old right-hander held the Rawhide to two hits over seven shutout innings and struck out 11, also without issuing a walk. On Sunday, he didn't go to a three-ball count until the fifth inning.
"I think that's always the biggest goal, not walking guys," Crick said. "Let your stuff take care of itself and get hitters out."
Crick went 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 14 starts in his first season in the Cal League. His playoff debut came with San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean among the 2,592 in attendance at Municipal Stadium.
"I wasn't aware of that," Crick said. "That's pretty cool."
The 2011 first-round pick hit the first batter of the game and also allowed a hit in the opening inning. He admitted early jitters may have had something to do with it.
"Maybe a little bit," Crick said. "On the hit batter, I just cut a fastball in a little bit."
The first-inning single was by D-backs No. 11 prospect Jake Lamb, who was thrown out trying to stretch into a double by right fielder Mac Williamson.
"That was great," Crick said. "Mac in right field has a hose, so I wasn't worried about it when [Lamb] hit it."
He was perfect from the second through the fourth, striking out the side in the third.
"After that, I was sort of in cruise mode," Crick said. "I have to give most of the credit to my catcher, Jeff Arnold. He's a [heck] of a game-caller. He really knows what's what. He is something else. He knows hitters as well as anybody."
Crick allowed a single in the fifth and sixth before throwing a 1-2-3 seventh.
Jose Casilla struck out two in the eighth and Derek Law gave up three hits and a walk in the ninth before recording his first playoff save.
Lamb singled with runners on first and second in the ninth, but center fielder Jesus Galindo made a strong peg to Arnold to catch the lead runner.
Ricky Oropesa homered for San Jose, while Matt Duffy reached base three times and knocked in a run.
The series shifts to Visalia for Game 3 on Monday night.
In other action:
Inland Empire 7, Lancaster 4
The 66ers evened the South Division finals at a game apiece, getting back-to-back homers in the third inning from Angels No. 15 prospect Zach Borenstein and Michael Snyder. Both had two hits, Borenstein knocking in two runs and scoring twice.
Brandon Efferson held the JetHawks to a run on five hits over 4 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and wound up with his first postseason win.
Eighth-ranked Astros prospect Nolan Fontana had two hits, including a bases-loaded triple, for Lancaster. Box score»
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.