Charles Brewer believes he is a Major League pitcher. His results Monday certainly supported that.
Pitching for Double-A Mobile, Brewer brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Huntsville in the first game of a doubleheader. He ended up allowing one hit while fanning a career-high 13 over six frames in the BayBears' 8-0 win.
"I think throwing the ball like that definitely shows teams that I'm pretty locked in, and the fact that I can strike out 13 in a game shows that I do have the stuff to get Major League hitters out," Brewer said. "An outing like tonight is definitely a good boost of confidence."
A 12th-round pick by Arizona in 2009, Brewer appeared in four games for the D-backs last year and began this season at Triple-A Reno, where he went 3-5 with a 7.28 ERA across nine starts. The 26-year-old attributed some of his struggles to the difficulty of pitching in Aces Ballpark.
"At the beginning of the year in Reno, I do feel like I definitely had a good share of bad luck," the UCLA product said. "I mean, I remember there was an outing where I had given up I think four or five hits and four or five runs in the first two innings of the game, and I had my pitching coach and our first baseman coming up to me saying, 'Don't change anything. Keep throwing the way that you are because you shouldn't even have given up a run yet.'
"Things like the atmosphere in Reno and the fact that it can be tough to pitch in, it was a little bit frustrating, but honestly, good pitchers prevail and good players always prevail through tough times and challenges."
Over four starts in Mobile, Brewer has compiled a 2-1 record and 2.42 ERA.
In his latest outing, he issued walks to Josh Prince in the first and fourth innings, but yielded nothing else until the sixth. That inning began with a leadoff single by Shea Vucinich, which was followed by free passes to Kentrail Davis and Nick Shaw.
Brewer responded by striking out Prince, Nick Ramirez and Jason Rogers in succession. That's how his outing ended, giving him plenty of reason to be pumped up.
"I really was," he said. "With the bases loaded and no outs, seeing that they were going to give me a chance to get out of it, that really kind of lifted me up. It really kind of gave me the confidence that I just needed to make pitches, and I did that.
"I was throwing some changeups with the bases loaded to some lefties and I was pitching in a lot. I got a couple strikeouts with my curveball, which was pretty much my strikeout pitch all day."
Before Monday, Brewer had never reached double-digit punchouts in his six-year professional career. He had held his opponent to just one hit once before in a three-inning outing for Mobile on May 6, 2011.
"It was funny because, at least on paper and numbers-wise, it looked pretty good," he said, "but I actually came into this outing really not feeling that great today. My arm didn't feel overly good today. I was a little tired. The heat was pretty intense in Huntsville.
"It was pretty humid from all the rain we've been getting here. I was sitting out there sweating bullets before I even went out there for the first inning, just from the warmups and the side work before the game."
While this season has had its difficulties for Brewer, the right-hander made it look easy Monday.
"I definitely didn't start out the way that I wanted to in Reno," he said, "but I've been throwing the ball great here and my confidence is where it needs to be and all my pitches are where they need to be."
The Bears got two RBIs apiece from Jake Lamb and Evan Marzilli. Lamb, Arizona's sixth-ranked prospect, collected a triple and was one of five Mobile batters to record two hits.
The Stars took the nightcap, winning the rain-shortened game, 4-2.