Manatees' Johnson hurls two-hit shutout

Brewers prospect fans five en route to first career complete game

With 11 wins, Hobbs Johnson is a three-way tie for the Florida State League lead. (Cliff Welch/

By Josh Jackson / | August 10, 2014 12:51 AM ET

Hobbs Johnson has had plenty of success this year, so he saw no reason to change anything coming into his outing on Saturday.

"I had the same approach I have every start: just try to throw the fastball down and in and out and locate my off-speed stuff," he said.

The Brewers prospect threw his first career complete game as Class A Advanced Brevard County blanked Clearwater, 1-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.

Johnson (11-7) carried a no-hitter into the sixth of he seven-inning game and ended up allowing a pair of singles and three walks while striking out five. He shares the Florida State League lead in wins and ranks ninth with a 2.86 ERA.

With one out in the first, Johnson issued his first walk to Angelo Mora, but he immediately got a boost from catcher Cameron Garfield.

"It was a 3-2 count, a good running count, and Garfield gave a sign that he was probably going to be going," Johnson said. "I turned and threw over and we got him. That was so great. It was a huge lift to be able to erase [the walk] and start over."

The 23-year-old left-hander found himself in a similar situation in the second when Brian Pointer worked a one-out walk, but he got Harold Martinez to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"Early on in the game, I was struggling command-wise, so it was nice to have that work out for me," he said.

After walking Art Charles to start the third, Johnson was through giving out free passes.

"It all starts clicking after the third inning. I'd been off mechanically, leaving it up a bit and not being able to locate the inside fastball, so it's frustrating not to be able to do that," the University of North Carolina product said.

He retired 10 in a row, fanning two in the fourth and striking out the side in the fifth. During that stretch, the idea of a no-hitter crept into Johnson's mind.

"A little bit, I guess," he said. "It wasn't affecting me one way or another, though."

Those thoughts came to an end when Anthony Phillips lined a one-out single to center in the sixth.

"I was frustrated, not so much because it was the hit but because the pitch called for was an inside fastball and I missed over the plate," Johnson said. "He hit a mistake, so that frustrated me. But that's part of the game."

Pointer got the Threshers' other hit with a two-out single in the seventh.

"I made a decent pitch and [Pointer] just put a good swing on it," Johnson said. "In that situation, there's not much you can do but get the next guy."

He did, retiring Martinez on a grounder to shortstop.

The Manatees scored the game's lone run in the third as Garrett Cooper led off with a double, took third on a single by Brandon Macias and came home on a base hit by Nathan Orf. Second-ranked Brewers prospect Tyrone Taylor also doubled for Brevard County.

Damien Magnifico (8-6) also threw a complete-game shutout in the nightcap, giving up five hits and three walks while fanning seven.

"It was awesome," Johnson said. "He went out there and pitched his butt off. He was really good."

Josh Jackson 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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