Thornton fans PCL-record eight in a row
Before Monday's game, Triple-A Fresno catcher Tim Federowicz told Trent Thornton all he had to do was execute and they'd be just fine. What followed was perhaps the best execution of his career.The Astros right-hander tied the Pacific Coast League record by striking out eight consecutive batters while matching his
Before Monday's game, Triple-A Fresno catcher
The Astros right-hander tied the Pacific Coast League record by striking out eight consecutive batters while matching his career high with nine total punchouts over six scoreless innings as the Grizzlies fell to the Aces, 3-2, at Greater Nevada Field.
"It was pretty much like any other game, just mentally preparing for my start," Thornton said. "After the first batter, I struck out two guys and ended the inning and then struck out the side two innings in a row. In the back of your mind you're like, 'Wow that's eight in a row.' It was kind of neat."
Gameday box score
Throughout the run, Thornton kept hearing his total from teammates who were "chirping at him." A couple players who heard the broadcast in the clubhouse returned to the dugout to tell the righty he tied the record. Even his parents told him about the record with a postgame text.
"Once I got to about six strikeouts, I was like, 'Oh jeez, that's kind of a lot,'" he said. "And then I added two more and it was eight. Then I faced Vargas in the fourth inning and he finally flew out to left field and I was like, 'Wow, I struck out eight in a row right there.
"It would've been nice if we got a good team win because we played pretty well, but yes, it's pretty cool."
Thornton joined Portland's Vean Gregg (1910), Phoenix's John Montefusco (1974) and Iowa's Ruben Quevedo (2000) as the only PCL pitchers to fan eight straight batters in a game.
Thornton's streak came to an end with Vargas' flyout to lead off the third, but the University of North Carolina product kept his hitless stretch alive until
Thornton lowered his ERA to 3.93 ERA while doubling his strikeout total to 17. The right-hander is 1-1 with six walks over 18 1/3 innings in four starts for Fresno.
"If I can go out there and locate my pitches the way I'm capable of, hopefully I can have more outings like [Monday]," he said.
Federowicz put Thornton in line for the win with a two-run homer in the sixth, but Reno rallied two frames later.
Remaining at the center of the action, Vargas knocked an RBI single and
Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.