It may have been his shortest outing of the season, but that didn't stop MacKenzie Gore from having a career night Monday.
The second-ranked San Diego prospect struck out a career-high 11 batters in 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk as Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore fell to Rancho Cucamonga, 3-2, in 10 innings at LoanMart Field.
Gameday box score
Leadoff batter Donovan Casey reached on a throwing error by third baseman Kelvin Melean for the Quakes in the bottom of the first inning, but Gore struck out the next three hitters. MLB.com's No. 14 overall prospect maintained that pace the rest of the way, whiffing 11 of the 18 batters he faced. He exited in the fifth after walking Brandon Montgomery, who crossed the plate on a homer by Carlos Rincon.
Gore sits in second place in the California League in strikeouts with 38, trailing Modesto's Ljay Newsome by eight. The left-hander's ERA rose slightly to 1.37, but he remained atop of the Cal leaderboard.
While he's certainly aware of his successes, Gore is careful not to get ahead of himself. Even with five stellar outings, he's taking them one start at a time.
"You are going to hear me say this a lot, but I want to dominate every day and not look ahead," Gore told MiLB.com after his season debut. "That is how you keep from getting too high or too low."
As a rookie in 2017, the third overall pick in that year's Draft stitched together a 1.27 ERA with 34 strikeouts and and seven walks across seven starts in the Arizona League. In his first full professional campaign last season, he sported a 4.45 ERA in 16 outings, striking out 74 batters while walking 18 in 60 2/3 frames for Class A Fort Wayne.
2019 MiLB include
Gore dealt with blister issues for much of that 2018 campaign, which may have been partially responsible for his increased ERA. Now that those concerns has subsided, though, he seems to be at the top of his game.
"I'm going out there and executing better than I was last year now that I'm healthy," he told MiLB.com earlier this month. "That's probably the biggest difference between this year and last year's start is that I'm healthy."