Trevor May relied too heavily on his fastball in his last start and hitters expecting the pitch tagged him for six runs. So he turned stubborn Saturday and threw his breaking pitches at even the most irregular times.
The plan paid off.
The Phillies prospect struck out nine and tossed a one-hitter for his first career shutout as the Clearwater Threshers beat the Jupiter Hammerheads, 2-0, in the first game of a doubleheader.
"They were more comfortable [at the plate] last week," May said, "than the Hammerheads were this week."
May (6-5), the Phillies' No. 6 prospect, allowed only Jaime Ortiz's second-inning single to left field and retired 13 batters in a row before issuing one of his two free passes to Jose Duarte. He set down the final five in order.
"I tried taking the thinking out of it," he said. "I had established the fastball command and what my approach was going to be to the hitters. I felt like I got in a groove and let it go. I didn't even worry about what I needed to throw. I just trusted what [catcher John Suomi] was putting down and trusted my gut, what it told me to throw and when, and it all came together."
Three of his nine strikeouts caught hitters looking, including two in a 1-2-3 fourth inning.
"There were some fastballs on corners that I was happy with," he said. "I was happy with my ability to make big pitches in big situations."
The former fourth-round pick leads the Class A Advanced Florida State League with 123 strikeouts or 7.24 per start. The midseason All-Star remains the only FSL pitcher to clear the century mark.
May couldn't strike his way out of a tough outing last week. On July 2, he gave up a season-high six runs on nine hits over five innings against Lakeland.
"I got away from [my plan] and threw a lot of fastballs last week," he said.
So the 21-year-old right-hander approached Suomi, who is one decade his senior, and dictated his thought process.
"I don't care if everything isn't right on. I need to throw it, I need to throw it in situations that I haven't been lately to keep hitters off-balance," May told the veteran backstop.
It resulted in quite the rebound. May matched his best outing of the season -- and of his four-year career. On June 22, he fanned a career-high 14 while holding Tampa to one hit over seven shutout frames.
The Washington native's only other complete game also was a seven-inning effort. On April 26, he limited Tampa to a run on four hits and earned the win.
Last year at Clearwater, May went 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA but walked 81 batters in 135 innings. He's issued 44 free passes in 95 frames this season.
"I have hit a couple of snags but, in contrast to the last year I was here, it's night and day," he said, "It's not only the number of strikes that I am throwing, it's the quality of pitches that I am making."
Darin Ruf provided the offense with one swing of his bat in the fourth. He plated Jonathan Singleton -- MLB.com's No. 22 prospect -- with a two-run blast off rehabbing Marlins right-hander Clay Hensley (0-1), who lasted four innings.
Jupiter won the nightcap, 8-2, scoring seven times in its final at-bat.