Daniel Barone has been able to see the silver lining within his Triple-A struggles this season. The powers-that-be might be too following his dominating start Thursday.
The 25-year-old right-hander hurled a complete-game three-hitter as the Albuquerque Isotopes blanked the host Portland Beavers, 3-0.
"This is a big pick-me-up," said Barone, who dropped his first four Triple-A decisions. "I've been feeling with each start that I'm getting more confidence. Plus the defense made some great plays behind me and made me feel like things were going my way.
"I was getting the first-pitch strike tonight and that was huge," he added. "Just getting strike one makes me feel like I'm able to shut them down."
Barone threw 116 pitches, fanning eight without a walk. He retired the first 13 Portland hitters in order before Vince Sinisi lined a single to left field with one down in the fifth inning. He later surrendered a seventh-inning single to Will Venable and Brett Dowdy's ninth-inning double.
"I didn't give up the big inning," he explained. "The big inning had been a problem for me in some games, but not tonight."
Barone, who was 1-3 with a 5.71 ERA in 16 games for the parent Marlins in 2007, was sidelined earlier this year with a bad back. He spent some time rehabbing with Double-A Carolina of the Southern League, going 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA, before returning to the Isotopes in late June.
Since returning, there had been progress despite his 0-4 record. On July 21, he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and fanning nine but was not involved in the decision as the Isotopes lost to the New Orleans Zephyrs, 3-2.
"The biggest thing for me has been to get into a rhythm and be out there pitching every five days," Barone said. "Now that my back is feeling better, I can do that."
The Isotopes (50-63) snapped a scoreless tie on Tommy Murphy's solo homer in the sixth. They added another run on Andrew Beattie's solo shot in the seventh and closed out the scoring with Jai Miller's RBI single in the eighth.
Chad Reineke (5-10) gave up two runs on six hits, striking out five and walking four over 6 1/3 innings to take the loss for the Beavers (58-53).