It's all relative in Campos' third victory

Yankees prospect strikes out seven in faceoff against cousin

By David Heck / Special to | April 16, 2012 9:19 PM ET

When Jose Campos found out he was pitching against his cousin on Monday, he chuckled. On the mound, though, he was all business.

The Yankees' No. 5 prospect bested family member Edwin Escobar, allowing one run on four hits over five innings as Class A Charleston defeated Augusta, 5-1.

The earned run was the first that Campos has allowed in three starts this season, bringing his ERA up to 0.56. He struck out seven and walked one.

"The previous two outings, he attacked the hitters with his fastball and located it pretty well," Charleston manager Carlos Mendoza said. "Then he goes to a pretty good changeup and a pretty good curveball to go with [the fastball]. He's a pretty special kid. I'm very impressed through his first three outings."

Campos started out strong, setting down the first five hitters he faced before yielding a single to Michael Mergenthaler. The GreenJackets' only run of the game came in the fourth when Jose Cuevas led off the inning with a homer to left field.

"First-pitch fastball, [Cuevas] jumped right on it and he hit a home run," Mendoza said. "But [Campos has] been aggressive in his three outings, attacking hitters with the fastball. This kid jumped out on one of them and hit it out."

Campos allowed only one other baserunner in the frame as the next batter, Ben Thomas, struck out but reached base on a wild pitch.

The 19-year-old right-hander ran into some trouble in the fifth, surrendering a leadoff double to Brett Krill and then a one-out walk to Carlos Willoughby. Another wild pitch allowed them to advance, but Campos got out of the frame by fanning Kelby Tomlinson and inducing a flyout by Cuevas.

"Nothing out of the ordinary, just a couple pitches that got away," Mendoza said of the wild pitches. "He made an adjustment right after and made the pitches that he needed to."

Relievers Zachary Varce and Ben Paullus pitched two perfect innings apiece as the RiverDogs cruised to their eighth victory in 11 games. Both hurlers struck out three.

Escobar (1-1) did not have a strong game for Augusta, yielding four runs -- two earned -- on three hits over 2 1/3 frames. In his previous outing, he held Charleston to just two hits over six shutout innings.

"I told [Campos] yesterday, 'You're facing your cousin.' He said, 'Really?' and just laughed," Mendoza said. "[Escobar is] good, he had a really good approach. He threw the ball well at home, but we put up some quality at-bats. He ran into some deep counts and we were able to get him out of the game early."

No. 3 Yankees prospect Gary Sanchez led Charleston's offensive effort by going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. After batting .256 in 82 games for the RiverDogs last year, he is hitting .385 so far this season.

"Another special kid," Mendoza said. "He's more mature. A lot of people forget he's only 19, playing his second year in full season. He's pretty mature at the plate, laying off some pitches down in the zone and swinging at strikes. ... He's got a short swing with a lot of pop in his bat."

Tyler Austin, New York's No. 15 prospect, stayed hot by tripling, singling and scoring three times as he raised his average to .444. No. 4 prospect Mason Williams also collected a pair of base knocks, giving him five straight multi-hit performances and nine straight games with a hit overall.

So how does it feel to be at the helm of a team with so many touted youngsters?

"It's fun," Mendoza said. "It's a very young team, but it's very talented. We're just making sure these guys are prepared to play the game day-in and day-out and play the game the right way. Like I told them, just go out and play your game and it's the same game. Have fun -- don't put too much pressure on yourself. They're so young but so talented, it's fun to watch."

David Heck is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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