After recording double-digit punchouts his last time on the hill, Matt Manning took another step in a positive direction in Thursday afternoon's start.
Detroit's second-ranked prospect tossed four hitless innings, yielding one run on five walks with six punchouts as Class A West Michigan rolled to an 8-3 victory over Lake County at Classic Park.
Gameday box score
Through two starts in his first full season, Manning has fanned 16 in 7 2/3 innings while holding opposing hitters to an .080 average. Manning has given up just two hits and sports a 4.70 ERA, but has issued eight walks. This comes after a season in which MLB.com's No. 55 overall prospect amassed a 3.18 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 14 starts between Class A Short Season Connecticut and West Michigan.
"This year, I kind of know what to expect and know what the competition is and what I have to do be successful in this league," Manning said after his last start. "It will be a good learning experience to figure out how to compete with myself and get later into games and keep throwing up zeros."
In Thursday's outing, Manning upped his pitch count by 16 from his previous start, tossing 47 strikes on 86 total pitches. The right-hander fanned No. 24 Indians prospect Ernie Clement to start the day and worked around a two-out walk to No. 18 Oscar Gonzalez by getting Will Benson to ground out to second base.
Manning added four more punchouts over the next two frames, but hit a rough patch in the fourth after issuing consecutive walks to Benson and Jorma Rodriguez. Jose Vicente flied out to right before Todd Isaacs delivered an RBI groundout. That's all the damage the 20-year-old faced as he wrapped up his start by whiffing Gian Paul Gonzalez.
Oswaldo Castillo (2-0) earned the win in relief, allowing one hit and two walks over two scoreless frames.
No. 21 Tigers prospect Joey Morgan doubled, singled and drove in two runs while Colby Bortles finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Whitecaps.