Kickham hurls seven hitless innings

Giants prospect retires 18 in a row, extends scoreless streak

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By Zack Cox / Special to | August 8, 2012 6:44 PM ET

A week ago, Mike Kickham pitched his way into the Flying Squirrels' record book, tying a franchise mark with 12 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings for the Giants' Double-A affiliate.

He came up with a pretty good encore Wednesday night.

Kickham pitched seven hitless innings, issuing two walks while fanning eight more, as Double-A Richmond blanked the visiting Harrisburg Senators, 6-0.

"It's kind of funny," he said. "I'm always looking to get better with each start, so I was kind of joking [after the last start] that I was going to one-up it this time. And I guess I did."

After walking the second batter of the game, the 23-year-old left-hander retired the next 18. He issued another walk in the seventh, then got Seth Bynum to bounce into a double play on his 105th and final pitch.

"I didn't feel as sharp as I did last time out. I got into a lot of three-ball counts early on and got some great defense behind me," Kickham said. "[But I] cut down on the walks, really worked my fastball and I was able to get a lot of balls on the ground."

Kickham (10-8) helped himself at the plate, singling and doubling to drive in two runs in three plate appearances. He's hitting .350 in 23 games.

Wednesday's gem was the latest in a series of impressive performances by the Missouri State product. In his last 10 starts, Kickham is 6-3 and has allowed two runs or fewer seven times. He's been nearly unhittable in August, giving up three hits over 15 1/3 shutout innings while boasting a 20-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

While Kickham said he felt that he could have taken the mound in the eighth, he understood manager Dave Machemer's decision to go to his bullpen.

"I felt like I could have gone longer, but I didn't fight with my pitching coach," he said. "You have to look at the big picture -- this isn't going to be my last game and you've got to look at the long term. I was joking that I could have gone up to 130 pitches, but it wasn't a big deal and I wasn't too upset about it."

Kickham's career night came at an opportune time for the 2010 sixth-round Draft pick, as several high-ranking members of the Giants' player development staff were on hand at The Diamond in Richmond.

"It was a great outing, but even moreso with those guys there watching," Kickham said. "I was very pleased that I could rise to the occasion and give my team a chance to win, especially in front of some important people. I was happy about that."

The Senators broke up the no-hitter in the eighth when Jose Lozada doubled off reliever Tom Vessella with two outs.

Vessella and Edwin Quirarte combined to finished off the Flying Squirrels' Eastern League-leading 13th shutout.

Zack Cox 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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