Through five innings Sunday afternoon, Giants prospect Adalberto Mejia was starting and self-sufficient, armed and autonomous. But help is help, and his teammates came in very handy in the sixth inning.
Third baseman Garrett Buechele barehanded a dribbler at third base and made a seamless toss across the diamond, while left fielder Elliott Blair made a diving catch on the grass to collect the first two outs of Mejia's final hitless inning as Class A Augusta bested Savannah, 2-1.
"The guys made some great plays," Mejia said, with hitting coach Nestor Rojas translating. "I tried to get ahead of every single hitter and throw a lot of strikes."
The gameplan worked. The left-handed native of the Dominican Republic struck out five in the best outing of his career.
Mejia, to whom San Francisco gave a $350,000 signing bonus when it signed him to a free agent contract in March 2011, according to Baseball America, walked just two batters and recorded seven outs on the ground. He also credited his success to his slider, typically his third-best offering behind his fastball and changeup.
Good pitching is becoming the norm at Augusta. Right-hander Clayton Blackburn took a no-hit bid into the seventh at Lexington on May 29, and righty Kyle Crick pitched six two-hit shutout innings on Saturday.
Mejia is only just joining the rotation. Sunday marked his second straight start. He struck out seven over four innings of one-run ball against Greenville.
All told, Meija (5-4) has compiled a 4.95 ERA in 20 games (16 in relief). This is his first season stateside after starting 13 games in 2011 for the Dominican Summer League Giants.
"It's an easy transition," he said, "because I've been a starter.
"It's not how you start; it's how finish," Mejia added. "I am working hard to get better numbers in the second half."
Sand Gnats starter Jim Fuller (0-1) gave up two runs on five hits over three innings.
GreenJackets right fielder Brett Krill went a game-high 4-for-4 at the plate -- two weeks to the day that he went 5-for-6. He tripled home the game's first run in the second.
Augusta is 18-9 in one-run games this year.