Lookouts' Wimmers silences Suns

Twins prospect strikes out career-high 11 in seven shutout innings

Alex Wimmers has pitched 21 2/3 scoreless innings in winning his last three starts. (Roger Hoover/Tennessee Smokies)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | June 19, 2015 11:39 PM

Alex Wimmers put an exclamation point on his stellar June on Friday night.

The Twins prospect recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings as Double-A Chattanooga held on for a 3-2 victory over visiting Jacksonville.

Wimmers (5-1) issued two walks and faced two batters over the minimum in his 12th start of the season. He induced five ground-ball outs and three double plays.

"Throwing the fastball for strikes," Wimmers said. "I was putting the ball over the plate and making my pitches work. Pretty much had all of them going. [Catcher] Jairo [Rodriguez] would put a pitch down and I was able to execute it. When you can do that, it helps you out a lot.

"I believe that I had a lot of strikeouts on fastballs. I was able to locate it, go in and out with it, and I had good results."

The 26-year-old right-hander struck out nine batters three times, most recently on June 13 against Birmingham, but had not exceeded the double-digit mark in his six-year career.

"It feels good," the Ohio State product said. "I'm just happy we got the win and I was able to put us in a position to win."

Wimmers has been nearly untouchable of late, giving up eight hits over 21 1/3 shutout innings in his last three Southern League starts. The 2010 first-round pick has struck out 24 and walked seven over that span while reducing his ERA to 4.31.

"Pretty much confidence and throwing strikes," he said of his recent success. "Having me trust my stuff and let the defense work behind me."

In his last start before embarking on the scoreless streak, Wimmers surrendered seven runs on 10 hits over four innings against Tennessee on June 2 as his ERA climbed to 6.49.  

"Honestly, that start, I felt the best. But the results did not come out the way I wanted it to," he said. "In that game, I was able to throw all my pitches the way I wanted to, but they got the best of me."

Madison Boer came on in the eighth and picked up his first Southern League save, despite giving up two runs on three hits while striking out one. 

Max Kepler, the Twins' No. 15 prospect, tripled home a run, while Jorge Polanco and Levi Michael had RBI singles for the Lookouts.

Marlins No. 15 prospect Austin Brice fell to 2-6 after allowing two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out six over four innings for Jacksonville.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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